Spain Culture

Spain Culture and Mass Media

Newspapers in Spain

According to AREACODESEXPLORER.COM, Spain is a country located in Europe. During the Franco dictatorship (1939-75), state control over the media was very fierce. When Spain became a democracy, a large number of new companies in the press, radio and television were started, which benefited from economic growth and the abolition of state monopoly in radio and television.

The 1978 Constitution guarantees freedom of the press and utterance and prohibits censorship, but during the recent party of the Conservative Party Partido Popular in power (2011-18), government control increased the state TV channels and it appeared that journalists who criticized the government were dismissed.

The economic crisis, which hit Spain in 2008, has hit hard on the country’s media industry. Foremost, it has hit print media that have seen its editions collapse, but the etheric media has also been hit hard by reduced advertising revenue. The traditional media companies have responded with mass layoffs and restructuring, which has not solved the problems as they are not only due to the recession but also to the existing business models being challenged by new players on the Internet.

Internet and mobile telephony

Internet use is relatively low. About 65 per cent of the population has access to the internet, but the use is increasing rapidly as more and more people have access to mobile broadband.

There are four mobile operators with their own networks. The biggest is Movistar, owned by Spanish Telefónica, followed by British Vodafone and French Orange. Yoigo, with Swedish-Finnish TeliaSonera as its owner, established itself in 2006 and has about 5 percent of the market. In addition, there are about ten virtual operators.

International sites such as Facebook, Google and Wikipedia are the most visited and no domestic player is included in the top ten list. In 2013, 38 percent of Spaniards had accounts on Facebook, compared to 54 percent of Swedes.

TV and radio

Radio, established privately in Madrid in 1925, became nationwide during the Civil War and then state. Television was started by the state in 1956 and became nationwide in 1962. The state-owned company Radiotelevisión Española (RTVE) has five nationwide TV channels as well as 16 regional TV channels. The regional channels are controlled by the respective regional government. RTVE’s radio operations consist of five nationwide channels as well as 16 regional channels.

The economic crisis has hit hard on public service. In 2013, the regional government closed down RTVE’s channels in Valencia, which then had approximately 1,700 employees and broadcast radio and TV to the region, which has about 5 million residents.

Since 2010, RTVE’s channels have been advertising-free and the business is financed entirely with state funds.

The analogue TV network was switched off in 2010 and all distribution takes place via the terrestrial digital network, via cable or via satellite. There are a large number of private TV channels, and the supply has increased significantly since 1997 when satellite broadcasting was started. The most popular private channels are Telecinco (formerly Tele 5), Antena 3 and Quatro.

The range of private radio is huge with thousands of stations, most of them local. Most listeners have the station Cadena SER, which broadcasts across the country. It is owned by Spain’s largest media group, Prisa, which also owns the daily newspaper El País and a number of TV channels.

Daily press and magazine

Newspaper reading in Spain is low; fewer than 40 percent read a daily newspaper, which is half compared to Sweden. Television and radio are the leading news broadcasters and the Internet to an increasing extent.

The economic crisis has hit the daily press hard. About 20 daily newspapers have been closed since 2008 and in 2012 there were about 90 paid morning newspapers left. (Spain has no evening newspapers.) The largest edition has the left-leaning quality magazine El País, founded in 1976, with an edition of about 350,000 copies. (2012). El País has been in difficult financial circumstances since 2011 and the management announced in 2012 a savings package which meant that every third employee was laid off. The second largest daily newspaper is the right-wing El Mundo, founded in 1989, with a circulation of about 250,000 copies. The daily sports magazine Marca, founded in 1938, is the country’s third largest newspaper with an edition of about 240,000 copies. Marca mainly watches football, especially the Real Madrid team. The magazine also operates a radio and a TV channel with the same focus.

The free newspapers have also been hit hard by the economic crisis. In 2013, there was only one national free newspaper on the market, Schibsted-owned 20 minutos, founded in 1999, with a circulation of just under 1 million copies. In 2005, there were four free magazines with a total edition of about 5 million copies. One of the players was Swedish Metro International, which launched its free magazine in seven Spanish cities in 2001 but closed down its entire business in 2009.

There are about 350 magazines and periodicals. The biggest gossip magazines are Pronto and Hola with editions of 900,000 and 450,000 copies respectively. (2013).

News agencies

Agencia EFE, founded in 1939, is one of the world’s largest news agencies with over 3,000 reporters in 120 countries. The state-owned agency has a majority of its clients outside of Spain and accounts for a large portion of the news media in Latin American media. There are another 50 news agencies, most of them regional. The second largest is privately owned Europa Press, which oversees all of Spain.

Book and publishing system

The first preserved print article in Spanish is considered “Les obres o trobes dauall scrites les quals tract dela sacratissima verge María” (‘Works and songs dedicated to the Virgin Mary’), performed by German letterpress in Valencia 1474. Known prints from the 16th century are.a. the polyglot Bible (1517). Georg Coci (d. 1547), letterpress in Zaragoza 1506–37, was the one who contributed most to the development of letterpress art in Spain.

During the 18th century, the printing industry improved further; Joaquín Ibarra y Marín (1725–85) in 1780 printed the first typographically acceptable edition of “Don Quijote”. During the 19th century, business boundaries were drawn between book sellers, book printers and publishers. An extensive establishment of publishers took place in 1868-75.

The book club Círculo de Lectores was founded in 1962 in Barcelona by Editorial Vergara in collaboration with German Bertelsmann. Paperbacks exist since the beginning of the 1960s, while pocketbooks were introduced as early as 1919 (“Colección Universal”; 360 titles in 564 small volumes). In 1936 there were 280 publishers in Spain; By 1970 the number had increased to 365. Since the beginning of the 20th century, everyone has been associated with activities in Spain’s book, publishing and printing industries in two organizations: the Centro de la Propiedad Intelectual (the Copyright Society) and the Association of the Librería de España (the Book Seller’s Society).

Since 1896 – really since 1714 but with uncertain effect – the duty of all Spanish pressure is being delivered to the Biblioteca Nacional in Madrid. The most important bibliographical works are A. Palau y Dulcet, Manual del librero hispanoamericano (1923–27) and Bibliografia Española (1958–).

Spain is, by virtue of its position as a world language, one of the world’s leading countries in the field of book production. The largest publishers are multinational; most have representation in South America, many also in the United States. This is one of the reasons why major international writers such as Gabriel García Márquez and Mario Vargas Llosa publish their books in Spanish publishing, usually with parallel publishing in their home countries. The market leader is Grupo Planeta, with subsidiaries in several countries in Latin America. The second largest is Random House – Mondadori with Plaza & Janés as the largest publisher in the group. Other major publishing groups with strong roots in Latin America are Santillana and Ediciones B, who is the leading book publisher within the media group Grupo Zeta.

The democratization of recent decades has led to a significant boost for book publishing. Although the large publishing houses dominate, there are a large number of independent smaller publishers, which successfully compete with the larger publishers. A veteran in the field is Castalia, founded in Valencia 1945, nowadays in Madrid, which publishes books in library editions, in recent years also classics and essays. The classic publishing places are Madrid and Barcelona.

The Spanish publishing federation Federación de Gremios de Editores de España, which brings together a number of regional associations, had about 860 member publishers in 2007, which accounts for 90% of the commercial book publishing in the country. The release is predominantly in Spanish (Castilian) with 77%; Catalan amounts to 16%, Basque just over 2% and Galician 2.5%. In the same year, the number of titles released including reprint was just over 70,500 and sales were EUR 3.1 billion.


According to APARENTINGBLOG, Spain has a rich culture that is characterized by the specificities of the different regions. The traces of the colonies in Latin America are also evident in the culture. Spain has many world famous writers, artists and architects.

When Moors and Jews were expelled from Spain at the end of the 15th century, a multicultural society was replaced by a unified culture. At the same time, colonial empire in Latin America began to build up. The culture of the ancient colonies has continued to characterize Spanish culture.

The regions of the country have their own distinctive cultures, which the Spaniards are often keen to emphasize. Characteristic of Catalonia, for example, is the architectural style of the modernismo of the late 19th century. Its chief representative was Antoni Gaudí, known among others for the church of the Sagrada familia (The Holy Family) in Barcelona.

Among the great names of Spanish painting in the 16th and 16th centuries are Diego Velázquez and El Greco. Spain’s most famous artists include Francisco José de Goya (1746-1828) and from modern times the surrealist Salvador Dalí and Joan Miró. Pablo Picasso, one of the foremost representatives of modernism, appeared most in France. With the painting Guernica, he condemned the nationalist aerial bombing in 1937 during the Spanish Civil War of the Basque city of the same name.

Spanish literature has a number of world-renowned authors, from Don Quijote’s creator Miguel de Cervantes (1547–1616) to playwright and lyricist Federico García Lorca (1898–1936) and Catalan Mercè Rodoreda (1909–1983). Five Spaniards have received the Nobel Prize in literature, among them Camilo José Cela (1916–2002) who received it in 1989. Among today’s leading Spanish writers include Bernardo Atxaga, who writes in Basque, Juan Marsé, Rosa Montero, Carlos Ruiz Zafón, Jaume Cabré and Javier Marías. More recently, Sara Mesa has become a well-known name that has also been translated into Swedish: four-wheel drive (2012) and bad writing (2016).

Spanish film was at the same time long with surrealist Luis Buñuel (1900–1983). Today, director Pedro Almodóvar (born 1949) is Spain’s most famous filmmaker. He broke through 1988 with Women on the verge of nervous breakdown and in 1999 won an Oscar for the movie Everything about my mom.

Music life encompasses everything from classical guitar music to regional folk music. Most famous is the flamencon, which is believed to have originated in the 18th century among the Romans in the south. Many Spanish composers have been inspired by folk music, such as Isaac Albéniz, Enrique Granados and Manuel de Falla. Andrés Segovia (1893–1997) established classical guitar as a music genre. Paco de Lucía (1947–2014) was the world’s best known flamenco guitarist. Among the most famous flamenco artists of today are Diego El Cigala, Vicente Amigo and Concha Buika.

Montserrat Caballé is a famous opera singer who also became a name in popular music when in 1992 she sang the Barcelona Olympic anthem together with the British singer Freddie Mercury from the band Queen. Spanish popular music has a front figure in Julio Iglesias, who has been active since the 1970s and whose records are among the world’s best-selling. His son Enrique has followed in his father’s footsteps and has also become world famous.



Protests against austerity policy

December 18

In Madrid, a demonstration against the government’s austerity policy gathers around 30,000 participants. The protest is organized by two unions UGT and CCOO, but is also supported by the Socialist Party and Podemos.

The Constitutional Court blocks a new referendum in Catalonia

December 14

The Constitutional Court overturns a resolution passed by the Catalan Parliament in October to hold a referendum on independence in September 2017. The decision is valid for five months, after which the court can act again. It also says that Catalan President Carles Puigdemont and President Carme Forcadell risk prosecution if they do not follow court decisions. Puigdemont has previously said that he will conduct the vote no matter what Madrid says.

Catalan left-wing activists are arrested

December 14

Several Catalan activists from the left-wing Cup are filmed as they burn up or tear up images of King Felipe. They are arrested by police when they do not come to the court hearing where the charges would be raised. Disgracing and prosecuting the king is a crime that can give up to two years in prison. The arrests triggered protests in Catalonia. The events intensify the tensions that already exist between the Catalan government and the Cup. However, the government is dependent on support from the small left-wing party.


Five women in the new government

November 3

When Rajoy presents his new government it contains 6 new members. Of the 13 ministers, 5 are women and almost all are from PP. Already on entry, the Prime Minister is criticized for not doing more to create dialogue with the opposition, especially in view of the strength of the parliament.


Rajoy wins the vote of confidence

October 29th

In the second vote of confidence in Parliament, 170 members vote for Mariano Rajoy to form a new government. 111 votes against and 68 abstentions. Thus, Rajoy can continue as prime minister and almost a year’s political deadlock is over. Two days later, Rajoy takes up his next term as prime minister at the head of a PP-led minority government. According to Rajoy, the new government’s focus should be on keeping Spain together, on budget stability and on relations with the EU.

Rajoy loses confidence vote

October 27th

As expected, PP leader Mariano Rajoy loses the first vote of confidence in Parliament to form a new government. Just as in the August vote, six votes are cast. On October 29, a new vote will be held.

New budgetary requirements from the EU

October 25th

As soon as it is clear that Spain can have a “real” government soon, the EU declares that the 2017 budget cuts proposed by the transitional government are not enough. According to the proposal, Spain would have a budget deficit of 3.6 per cent in 2017, but the EU calls for it to be reduced to 3.1 percent, which corresponds to about EUR 5.5 billion.

PSOE opens for PP government

October 23

At a special meeting of the Socialist Party’s Federal Board, a majority of its members voted to cast their votes in the upcoming vote on a new government in Spain under PP leader Mariano Rajoy, but only in the second vote in the first one is intended to vote against Rajoy (however, several socialists declare that they intend to vote no in the second round as well, as long as enough people cast their votes to release Rajoy). A few days later, Mariano Rajoy gets commissioned to try to form government.

ETA’s armistice for five years

October 20

The five-year anniversary of ETA’s decision to cease its military operations is highlighted. Yet, however, the terrorist organization has not declared itself dissolved nor has it handed in all its weapons: recently, for example, the French police found one of ETA’s weapons hides outside Paris.

New play on Gibraltar

October 6

In a TV interview, Foreign Minister José Manuel García Margallo promises to launch a “seduction campaign” against Gibraltar residents to make them realize that the best thing for them would be shared British-Spanish supremacy over Gibraltar after the UK’s exit from the EU. It would, according to García Margallo, mean joint control of foreign policy, borders and immigration and the Gibraltar residents would gain Spanish citizenship without losing their British passports; Gibraltar would also be guaranteed self-government. Gibraltar’s head of government Fabian Picardo rejects the Spanish play.

200 in court for corruption

October 4th

In Madrid, the trial of about 200 people is suspected of corruption and with six regional governments involved. The main accused is the businessman Francisco Correa who, between 1999 and 2005, should have met with a number of lucrative contracts by politicians, mainly from the People’s Party (PP).

Sánchez resigns as leader of the PSOE

October 1st

Socialist Party PSOE’s governing body, the 250-strong Federal Committee, votes against party leader Pedro Sánchez’s strategy to prevent PP’s Mariano Rajoy from forming a new government at all costs. That leads to Sánchez leaving. An interim board of Asturias president, Javier Fernández, now has to decide whether, by casting his votes, Rajoy should form a minority government. Spain has not had a functioning government since December 2015.


PP remains in power in Galicia

September 25

In Galicia, Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy’s home region, his party PP remains in power under Alberto Núñez Feijóo; In the Basque Country, the Basque Nationalist Party PNV, under Iñigo Urkullu, will continue to gain confidence after becoming the largest party again. The Socialist Party PSOE goes back sharply in both regions, where they have long been strong, possibly an expression of lack of confidence in PSOE leader Pedro Sánchez in the ongoing government debate.

800,000 demonstrates for Catalonia independently

11 September

Around 800,000 people are demonstrating in Barcelona to put their demands behind Catalonia’s independence.

The economy is growing

September 5

The Spanish economy continues to grow. Figures in September 2016 show that GDP has grown by just under a percent four quarters in a row, largely as a result of lower oil prices, low interest rates, tax cuts and a boost for the tourism industry. Unemployment has also continued to fall. However, analysts warn that the prolonged political crisis will affect economic development in the long run.

Rajoy loses a second vote of no confidence

2 September

As expected, PP’s Mariano Rajoy also loses the second congressional vote in Congress, with the same numbers as in August.


Rajoy loses confidence vote

August 31st

After two days of heated debate in the Spanish congress, a vote of confidence takes place over a possible re-election of Mariano Rajoy as prime minister. Rajoy’s PP votes for like Ciudadanos and a small right-wing party from the Canary Islands, everyone else against. Rajoy had needed 176 of the congress’s 350 votes to be re-elected but only managed to get 170 together.

New tourist record

August 23rd

In July 2016, the number of foreign tourists reached the six million mark, a new record for a single month, according to Spain’s Statistical Office.

Spanish voters want to avoid new elections

22 August

Two different opinion polls show that the Spaniards want to see an end to the political deadlock. While PSOE leader Pedro Sánchez and the entire Socialist Party leadership continue to say no to Rajoy continuing to lead the country, and also rejects a proposal by former PSOE leader and Prime Minister Felipe González to cast his votes in a vote of confidence, two-thirds of the Spaniards that Sánchez should follow González’s advice to avoid a new election. About four-fifths believe the political situation is “bad” or “very bad” and believe that Spain will receive a bad reputation abroad if the country has to hold another fresh election.

Record high government debt

August 17th

Government debt reaches its highest level in June since 1909, when it rises to the equivalent of 100.9 percent of GDP.

PSOE says no to PP government

August 2

The Socialist Party PSOE says no to join, or even support, a government led by PP leader Rajoy.


Rajoy is commissioned to form a new government

July 28

After talks with the various party leaders, King Felipe assigns the head of the interim government and former Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy to try to form a new government. Rajoy, whose center-right party PP received the most votes but not his own majority in the new election in June, thanks yes, since the leader of the Ciudadanos Liberal Party, Albert Rivera, declared that he can imagine joining a coalition government with the PP and the Socialist Party PSOE. Spain has not had a functioning government since the December 2015 parliamentary elections.

Unemployment is falling

July 28

Official figures show that for the first time in six years, unemployment fell to below 20 percent for the first time in six years.

The EU refrained from fining Spain and Portugal

July 27

The European Commission decides to refrain from fining Spain and Portugal. They refer to the difficult economic situation in which the countries are located and that they have nevertheless made great sacrifices. There is also obviously a concern within the Commission that harsh sanctions would lead to increased popular opposition to the EU in the wake of the British referendum on membership (Brexit). The EU finance ministers can change the decision within ten days, but it seems unlikely.

Catalan Parliament approves independence plan

July 27

A majority in the regional parliament of Catalonia, consisting of the governing independence alliance Junts pel Sí and the Cup Party far out on the left, endorses a plan for the region to become independent from Spain. The Socialist Party casts its votes, the left-wing Alliance Catalunya Sí Que es Pot votes against, while the center-right party PP and Ciudadanos march out of the hall in protest. The vote takes place even though the Constitutional Court of Spain has ruled that all plans for independence are contrary to the law.

The EU fines Spain for a high budget deficit

July 12

The European Commission decides to impose fines on Spain (and Portugal) for the countries not doing enough to reduce their budget deficits. The finance ministers, where Germany’s Wolfgang Schäuble, among others, wants to see harsh fines, have 20 days to decide the size of the fine. In addition to fines, countries are also at risk of losing a number of EU grants. EU countries may have a budget deficit of three percent; Spain received the Commission’s permission to have 4.2 percent for 2015, but the deficit rose to just over 5 percent


PP goes ahead, but does not get its own majority

June 27

In the recent congressional election, PP gets just over 33 percent of the vote and 137 of the 350 seats, against just under 23 percent and 85 seats for the PSOE, just over 21 percent and 71 seats for Unidos Podemos, while Ciudadanos gets 13 percent and 32 seats. However, it appears to be just as difficult to form a government as after the 2015 election. The turnout is just under 70 percent.

Minister of the Interior in windy weather

June 22

Interior Minister Jorge Fernández Díaz is accused of being involved in attempts to dirty Catalan separatist politicians. It is about a two-year-old sound recording where Díaz seems to discuss this with the head of Catalonia’s anti-corruption authority. The Minister of the Interior is required to resign. However, he says that he intends to stay and that the recordings have been taken out of context and edited to appear compromising.


The EU gives Spain respite by reducing the budget deficit

May 19th

The European Commission chooses not to fine Spain (and Portugal) for failing to comply with the budget deficit framework applicable within the euro zone. Countries are given a year to deal with the problems. Prime Minister Rajoy’s election promise on tax cuts seems to be in conflict with such demands. However, he argues that Spain’s tax revenue increased, despite the fact that his government lowered several taxes in 2015.

Valallians on the left

May 10

According to what is described as a preliminary settlement, Podemo’s alliance with the United Left forms before the new election in June.

Ready for re-election in June

May 3

Difficulties in establishing a new government cause the king to announce that new elections to Congress will be held on June 26.


The European Commission gives Spain economic backlog

April 20

Spain’s national debt is too high, the European Commission and the European Central Bank point out in a joint statement. The budget deficit is also among the highest in the Union, well above the 4.2 percent approved. However, the European Commission agrees that Spain will have another year to deal with the problems.

The Minister of Industry resigns after revelations in the Panama Papers

April 15

José Manuel Soria and his brother, according to the so-called Panama papers leaked from the law firm Mossack Fonseca in Panama, have been in the management of a mailbox company in the Bahamas. He denies the information, but resigns after being linked to a company operating on the island of Jersey.


No new government coalition between PSOE and Ciudadanos

On March 1, the Congress voted no to a government cooperation between PSOE and Ciudadanos. Only the own 130 members say yes to the proposal. A new vote will be held on March 4, but this time, too, Sánchez will get enough votes.


PSOE and Ciudadanos agree on government programs

February 24th

The Social Democratic PSOE and the bourgeois Ciudadanos agree on a joint program for a new government. However, Podemos, who does not intend to reign with Ciudadanos, leaves all consultations with Sánchez. The program includes a constitutional reform that, among other things, means that MPs will lose their immunity from prosecution, measures against corruption, new labor market laws, investments in health care, new environmental taxes and higher income taxes for those who earn the most. Both parties oppose Catalonia’s referendum on independence.

Suspected Islamists are arrested

February 7

Spanish police arrest seven people believed to have ties to the Islamic State (IS) extreme group and other jihadist movements. They are accused of providing logistical support to IS and of trying to recruit women to the group.

Socialist leader Sánchez may try to form government

February 2

PP leader Mariano Rajoy fails to form a new government with enough support in Congress. King Felipe therefore assigns Socialist Party PSOE leader Pedro Sánchez to form government.


Unemployment falls to 21 percent, the lowest figure in five years

January 28

Statistics show that unemployment fell below 21 percent in the last quarter of 2015, which is the lowest figure since 2011. However, many of those who have got jobs have been given temporary employment. Part of the improvement is also due to the fact that many Spaniards have left the country to work abroad.

New government in Catalonia

January 10

Only on January 10 can a new government be formed in Catalonia under the leadership of Carles Puigdemont. This also happens then Together for yes withdrew its support for Mas, which thus gives up the attempts to form a new government (see September 2015 and November 2015). On entry, Puigdemont promises to continue the process initiated by Mas’s government, with the goal that Catalonia should become independent within 18 months. The new Catalan leader is a former journalist who in recent years has been mayor of Girona.

Spain Culture

About the author