The State Of The European Union And The Impact Of Television On The Society

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Joel Savage interviews Sergi Vicente, the Director of Barcelona Televisio.

Apartheid bowed to democracy in South Africa, the Berlin wall came tumbling down and the Soviet Union collapsed. Globally things were financially, economically and politically falling apart, when the European Union was formally established on November I, 1993, to share free market and single monetary policy for over more than 300 million citizens.

Many Europeans, including Belgians, argue that things were better and life more comfortable, before the European Union was formed. For example, the past and present turmoil in other European countries, including Greece, reveal the European Union is unstable and steering into stormy waters.

My recent visit to Barcelona, I called on Mr. Sergi Vicente, the director of Barcelona Televisio, to give me his views and opinion on the present state of the European Union and the impact of the television on the society. Below are the excerpts of the interview.

Joel: There are thousands of Europeans, especially Western Europe, who aren’t satisfied over the formation of the European Union, because the pattern of lives changed, as prices of commodities escalated, affecting, the economy and the standard living of Europeans, leaving many unemployed. Let’s take Greece for example. What do you think?

Vicente: I don’t see the unification of the European Union as a failure. There are advantages and disadvantages in everything but in regard to the Union, the best has been achieved. Transparency, Communication, integration and the growth of successful free market, are some of the achievements. Besides, the EU has thrived to develop liberty, justice,  education, prosperity, peace, security, the protection of the environment and health, thus; helping to disseminate basic human values at the global level.

Joel: Lack of employment, is a situation many Europeans are facing today. What’s the employment situation in Spain?

Vicente: As you just said, it’s a crisis many Europeans are facing, yet the problem has led to the creation of new jobs in other fields to reduce the unemployment rate. Unemployment may be long or short term, but things will improve.

Joel: Journalism is rapidly losing its credibility, that’s the way many feel, because a lot of the media hide the truth and facts from the public. What’s your opinion?

Vicente: As a journalist heading an institution, we try our best to give the right information to the general public. This is the reason readers and viewers have favourite newspapers or television stations. Being transparent is one of the tools to build a good reputation. So I don’t see the reason the media should mislead people.

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Mr. Sergi Vicente, Director of Barcelona Televisio.

Joel: Barcelona used to be a city for drug addicts and peddlers. Is there any change?

Vicente: You’ve already seen that there is a dramatic change in the city, since the country is one of the most visited tourists attraction in the world. The mayor, police and other officials had worked hard and still relentlessly working hard to make the city  healthy and  safe for tourists.

Joel: Television is a great source of entertainment and education, yet many believe it’s responsible for crime and immorality which have plagued and crippled our society.

Vicente: I can’t say television is responsible for crime, even though I agree that it has both advantages and disadvantages.Children are protected and cared by adults, thus, it’s the responsibility of parents to control what children watch on the television. Controling children is part of the training and caring for children. Bad friends can also influence children. As a matter of fact, television educates more than influencing children negatively.

Joel: Mr. Vicente, thanks for the interview.

Vicente: You are welcome.

Diary Barcelona: A Visit To Barcelona Television/FM Studios – Part One

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The passion of every television station is to entertain, give first-hand information and run programs the public will be interested. Technology has made today’s television the most popular electronic appliance in the world. For a number of years now, Barcelona Televisio has been one of the best local television centers in Barcelona, influencing much of the day-to-day activities of local civic life.

On July 14, 2015, I was delighted to meet Mr. Jordi Colom, the technical director of Barcelona Televisio, in Spain, who took me around the entire studio to explain the activities behind the success of the television and the radio studios, to discover the influence and impact of technology in today’s modern journalism and mass communication.

Barcelona Televisió, also known as BTV, is a channel of local television, publicly owned and managed by a municipal subsidiary of the city of Barcelona. The broadcasts began on November 3, 1994, in a small place located at Via Laietana, in Barcelona, with the success of unification of the channels and service in each district, under the company information in Comunicació de Barcelona.

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Cross section of journalists at Barcelona Televisio.

Among the objectives of the Barcelona Televisió (BTV) is to become a municipal channel which would encourage citizen participation. Programs offered from its studios include half-hour information, debate, and contents provided by each district television, serving the people in the Catalan language.

With its own language, laws, and customs, independent-minded Catalonia, is one of Spain’s richest and most highly industrialized regions. With a distinguished history stretching back to the early middle ages, many Catalans think of themselves as people not part of Spain.

Under the management of Mr. Sergi Vicente, since 2008, Barcelona Televisio has followed different programming models but has remained a model of proximity and public service.  The success of the television facilitated the creation of the company’s FM station service in 2014, naming it Barcelona FM.

On a familiarization tour, the technical director painstakingly explained the work of the journalists servicing various departments, how the studios operate each day for viewers and how information is gathered and disseminated to the general public. According to Mr. Colom, the locals, referring to the Catalan, increasingly desires local TV programming, including the weather and the traffic, because they rely on those two things to carry out their daily activities.

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Photo: Mr. Jordi Colom, the Technical Director and the visiting journalist Mr. Joel Savage

The well-organized studios provide news writing, editing, technical activities, interviews etc; and also local government affairs programming, regional sports, and news, with great impact on many individuals.

Programming of BTV, based now on the public service and minority-minded, was renovated completely in September 1997. Directed by Manuel Huerga, who won a public competition for the design of programs, the grill was divided into two strips. Spaces of short duration, no more than five minutes, which highlighted the news and cultural agenda.

Television is indeed a wonderful tool which has brought comfort to our homes, as millions of people depend on simultaneously as a source of entertainment, information and to carry out businesses, but there is nothing more interesting than discovering its anatomy and activities. Visiting Barcelona Televisio is the best experience I will never forget.