On The Listening Post this week: As Catalonia pushes for independence, we look at how the story is being told in Madrid and Barcelona. Plus, diverse voices on Mexico's community radio.

Catalonia referendum: One country, two stories

As Catalans go to the polls in an unofficial referendum on independence this weekend, Spain's media landscape approaches peak polarisation. Much of the coverage of the referendum by Spanish and Catalan media has looked like one part journalism and one part propaganda.

On the one hand, much of the national, Madrid-based media - notably Spain's public broadcaster TVE, stand accused of denying pro-independence voices a fair hearing. On the other, critics charge Catalan outlets like the widely watched TV3 with indoctrinating Catalans rather than informing them.

Meanwhile, Catalonia's pro-independence President Carles Puigdemont, himself a former journalist, has been busy courting international media in an attempt to bend the global narrative towards the independence agenda.

Contributors:
Eric Hernandez, director, El Periodico
Vicente Sanchis, director, TV3
Arcadi Espada, columnist, El Mundo
Ana Fernandez Viso, associate lecturer in media systems at the Autonomous University of Barcelona and at Blanquerna-Ramon Llull University

On our radar:

  • An investigation is under way in Turkey after two exiled Syrian activists, who opposed the Assad regime, were found murdered in Istanbul.
  • In India, the revelation of a meeting between the owner of the Hindustan Times and Prime Minister Narendra Modi has ignited speculation about the reasons for the departure of the paper's editor.
  • The government of Cameroon's crackdown on journalists in its English-speaking region continues, with dozens of reporters suspended and others targeted under "anti-terror" laws.

Community Radio in Mexico

In a country as geographically and culturally diverse as Mexico, community radio stations provide local news and views that mainstream outlets do not.

Sometimes they counter official narratives that are part of a larger political and media agenda, bringing them into conflict with the authorities and, more perilously, drug gangs.

Now, a new law is offering community radio stations a small piece of the federal government's advertising budget - but could it be a double-edged sword? Some worry that the funding could also threaten stations' much-valued independence.

The Listening Post's Will Yong explores the world of Mexican community radio, what it means to audiences and what the future holds.

Contributors:
Socrates Vasquez, member, Radio Jenpoj
Elfego Riveros, legal representative, Radio Teocelo
Veronica Galicia, founding member, Radio La Voladora
Aleida Calleja, advocacy coordinator, OBSERVACOM

Source: Al Jazeera