After months of setbacks and debates, political parties in Spain draw close to reaching an agreement to renew the public broadcaster’s leadership via public tender.

Last year, the Corporación de Radio y Televisión Española (RTVE), Spain’s public broadcaster, had a promising future as the main political parties – Podemos, Ciudadanos, the Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party (Partido Socialista Obrero Español – PSOE) and the People’s Party (Partido Popular – PP) – agreed to renew the broadcaster’s leadership via public contest, in a bid to improve the broadcaster’s independence, transparency and plurality.

The Renewal of Offices Act was approved in September but the parties were not able to reach an agreement over the conditions of the public tender. After six months of debates and after reaching a deadlock, which failed to meet the original goal of launching the public contest’s terms at the beginning of the year, three parties – Podemos, Ciudadanos and the PSOE – finally found consensus.

This finalised agreement would be “the first step to prevent public radio and television from being the property of the government of the day and handing it over to all Spaniards,” according Guillermo Díaz, representative of Ciudadanos.

The agreement in practice

If backed by the PP, future leadership renewals will be decided by a committee of up to seventeen professionals with at least ten years of experience in the media field. Of these experts, the PP will choose five; the PSOE, three; Podemos two and Ciudadanos, ERC, PNV, PDeCAT and Grupo Mixto (Mixed Group), one each. The Spanish newspaper El País put together a useful step by step guide to illustrate the different stages of the process.

An unclear position

It is now hoped that PP will back the agreement so that the renewal process can be completed as soon as possible, ideally within two months, but it is not yet clear whether the PP will give its full support to the proposal.

It would be very surprising if the PP did not accept this proposal,” said Margarita Robles of the PSOE. “This would lead [some] to think that the party supports a politics of manipulation within RTVE.”

The PP lamented that they were left out of the agreement: “leaving out the majority party in the two Chambers is not the best way,said Ramon Moreno, representative of the PP. However, the party did not make any further comment regarding their position as they are yet to study the document, according to the latest report by RTVE. Nonetheless, they have stressed that their position “has always been hand outstretched”.

PMA will continue to follow and update on these developments at Spain’s public broadcaster. 

Header Image: RTVE Building in Madrid. Credit: Pedro Cambra