Communications In Spain

Forms Of Expression

 

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During the first thirty years of the Francoist dictatorship, the press was subjected to severe previous censorship. Spanish newspaper journalists tended to disguise whatever real news.

All that started to change with the arrival of democracy and, more specifically, with the launching of a new national daily, El País, in 1976.

When it first appeared, El País came as a refreshing alternative to the leading daily of the time, the conservative ABC (established in 1905). The Spanish Constitution in 1978 recognizes and protects freedom of expression in its Article 20.

Readership of newspapers in Spain has traditionally been among the lowest in Europe.

This was not because Spaniards were uninterested in news, but because Spanish newspapers have generally been boring and expensive. Most Spaniards still see radio as a more reliable and entertaining source of information.

Though renowned for slow delivery the Correo or Spanish post office vastly improved over the past years.

Post offices (Oficinas de Correos) are generally found near the centre of towns and are normally open from 8am to noon and again from 5 to 7.30pm, though big branches in large cities may have considerably longer hours and usually do not close at midday.

The telephone system in Spain is dominated by the formerly state-owned Telefónica.

The international access code for Spain is +34. The outgoing code is 00 followed by the relevant country code (e.g. 0044 for the United Kingdom).

Public telephones are either coin or card (tarjetas telefónicas) operated. Telephone cards can be purchased in post offices, newsagents and kiosks or tobacco stores (estancos) that have the sign Tabacos outside.

 

Media In Spain

 

Readership of newspapers in Spain has traditionally been among the lowest in Europe.

This was not because Spaniards were uninterested in news, but because Spanish newspapers have generally been boring and overpriced. Most Spaniards still see radio as a more reliable and entertaining source of information.

Of the Spanish newspapers the best are the centre-left El País and the centre-right El Mundo , both of which have good arts and foreign news coverage, including comprehensive regional “what’s on” listings and supplements every weekend.

El País laid the ground rules for modern Spanish news reporting, including double-checking sources and the use of a clear, readable style.

With a circulation of around 450,000 copies, it is the best-selling national general newspaper in Spain (though outsold by the sports daily Marca).

Modern technology allowed the Madrid-based nationals to launch regional editions, but local and regional papers thrived none the less, including Catalonia’s two leading titles, the long-established La Vanguardia and the newer El Periodico.

Nationalist press includes Avui in Catalunya, printed largely in Catalan, and the Basque papers El Correo Español del Pueblo Vasco, Deia and Gara.

Radio, too, has undergone a boom. Spanish talk radio stars are the best-paid journalists in the country.

Control of the major radio networks has been the object of high-level maneuvring, with such unlikely players as the Spanish telephone company, the Catholic Church and Spain’s National Organization for the Blind.

 


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Internet In Spain

 

Email and internet access is available at internet cafes (more commonly referred to as cibercafés in Spanish) in most towns and resorts.

Prices vary; in cities hourly rates can be as little as €1.80, rising to around €6 in some smaller towns.

The average Internet speed in Spain is 1024/300 kbps, costing €20 to €39 per month for an unmetered line. Faster connections up to 8 Mbps are available, but the price is considerably higher (€150 for 8 Mbps).

However, over the last 2 years companies like Jazztel, Wanadoo or Ya.com are offering packs including Television+Phone calls+ADSL up to 20 Mb for 20€-30€ a month.

Several companies, including Comunitel and Direct Telecom offer ADSL and VoIP (Internet Telephony) packages. As VoIP is becoming the norm in most of the world, Direct Telecom, from humble beginnings in 2000, is slowly overtaking the other big fish and getting a large percentage of the broadband market.

Also, Telefonica, Jazztel, and Wanadoo all provide DSL based television services (Imagenio, Jazztelia TV and Wanadoo TV respectively).