In June 2021, concerned about the scarce presence of the Basque language in the ever wider and diverse audiovisual world, various initiatives and popular agents join forces to create the PANTAILAK EUSKARAZ (Screens in Basque) grassroots movement.
The movement consists of the following initiatives and public actors: The 'Disney+ in Basque' popular initiative, created by several fathers and mothers and Euskaltzales in the Euskaraldia period of 2020, was created as a platform for children and film premieres in Euskera; the popular initiative 'Netflix Euskaraz', created last February for the solicitation of contents in Euskera on this world leading platform; the Tinko Euskara association, which has been promoting the Basque film crisis.
To date, among the various campaigns supporting the movement, more than 30,000 signatures have been gathered on the Internet and a network of 500 partners has been set up, demonstrating that Basque society largely shares the concerns of this initiative.
The movement was introduced on 9 June 2021. Photo: Iñigo Arandia (Tinko Euskara Elkartea), Aintzane Gamiz (Bieuse), Alex Aginagalde (Disney+ in Basque), Patxo Larrinoa (Netflix Euskaraz). Photo: G.R./ FOCUS
Context: Multi-Screen Society
Our lives are increasingly linked to all kinds of screens. Worldwide studies show that the average screen exposure time is 14 hours a day. Mobile, computer, tablet, TV, video games… have become one of the main and necessary in our free time. That is, we live absorbed by screens.
*Source: Global Web Index 2020
Digital revolutions and the emergence of the information society in the production and dissemination of audiovisual content such as Google, Youtube, Amazon, Netflix, etc. has resulted in the emergence of global agents such as the . Faced with this, the consumption habits of audiovisual products are changing dramatically, there are fewer and fewer viewers willing to depend on the offer established by traditional television. Because “most content is available at all times and in all places. This phenomenon is called ATAWAD, an acronym for any time, anywhere, any device. Tablets and especially smartphones show this reality more graphically” (MARIN Y OTTO, 2020)3.
According to data from the CIES of October 2020, almost half of the population of Hego Euskal Herria used a subscription platform and this figure is rising rapidly. The consumption of these platforms among youth is the majority: Netflix among students and university students at the Basque South Institute: %82, Amazon Prime Video: And Disney+ consumes 20 percent.
Garazi Goia, director of strategy and modernisation of the British communication group Sky, said at a recent conference that platforms will see a 50% increase in the coming years in the world, and that the share of traditional television audience will soon be below 50%, at least in Britain. Faced with this scenario, he warned the Basque Country: “Time is moving forward. If there is no strategy, they will eat us.”4
Diagnosis: presence of Euskera on screens
But what is the situation of the Basque Country on the screens that are appropriating our free time? Let"s look at this in different media and audiovisual applications.
The presence of the Basque Country on the platforms or VOD (Video on Demand) to which we referred in the previous point and which are completely ingesting the global film and series market is absolutely anecdotal. Among the 26,000 content that we can find in the catalogues of the Netflix, PrimeVideo, Disney+ and HBOmax platforms that dominate the world (and in the Basque Country), according to the Euskaraz Screens catalogues conducted in October 2021, 4 Netflix movies (Handia, Errementari, Akelarre (bilingual) and Black is Beltza) and video Broly and Dragon Ball Z: They can only be found in Basque (risen F). This accounts for 0.02% of the content.
The exception would be the Catalan platform Filmin, which, although representing a small percentage of the market compared to the main international companies, has its own weight in the State and, above all, in Catalonia. This platform offers 65 contents in Basque (0.65%) in the subchannel Filmin Euskaraz, all of them of Basque film production or duplicate children"s films through the program Zinema Euskaraz. It should be noted that the director of Filmin a few years ago offered the Basque Government the creation of the Basque version of the entire platform, but according to Jaume Ripoll himself, “did not interest” the Basque authorities.
Therefore, there is no platform to watch movies and series of success of the world with dubbing or subtitles in Basque.
With regard to cinemas, the situation is similar. While it is true that the traditional way of seeing cinema is in a deep crisis due to the arrival of the platforms and the COVID19 context, this does not justify the situation of exclusion of the Basque country also in these. According to data from Tinko Euskara Elkartea, 15 were the commercial premieres offered in Euskera in Hego Euskal Herria, almost all of them children"s movies duplicated through the Zinema Euskaraz program 6, and the rest Basque productions, 655 dedicated to Spanish. That is, the percentage of commercial releases in Euskera was 1%, while the share of performances was less than 1%.
Social networks such as Youtube, Twitch, Instagram, Tikto and creative platforms are also increasingly common ways of consuming videos, especially among younger people. There is also no possibility of finding the use of Euskera or the contents of Euskera. According to the Ikusiker Panel of 2021, among the students and university students of the CAPV and Navarra aged between 11 and 23 years, the last content consumed in social networks was in Spanish (71.5%) or in English (about 21.1%). Only 3% saw some content in Euskera.7
The presence of the Basque in traditional television, in permanent loss of space in the face of the new media for audiovisual consumption, is very limited. Among the dozens of digital television channels we have in Euskera ETB 1, ETB 3 and Hamaika TB, in addition to local television in some districts. But if you look at the audience, in 2021 ETB 1 has had the audience of %2, and the child channel ETB 3, in the Autonomous Community of the Basque Country (CIES, 2021), has the audience of %8. A significant fact to seize the space lost by the Basque: The ETB 1 hearing in June was 17.9%.
The conclusion is that with the arrival of the growing audiovisual offer of television channels, digital platforms, social and creative networks, the Basque country has been losing space until its presence has become anecdotal. References of different screens of children, young people and adults speak Spanish.
It cannot be affirmed that there is a direct cause-effect relationship between the scarce presence of the Basque Country on the screens and the decrease in the use of the language in the last measurements, confirming the existence of other factors that have influenced this decrease. But it is undeniable that, as can be seen from several sociolinguistic studies, leisure has a significant influence on linguistic habits.
Researchers Jone Miren Hernandez and Olatz Altuna in their work on the use of youth language published last year (HERNANDEZ & ALTUNA, 2020) indicate:
“Therefore, family and school are pillars, but have limited capacity to support their use. They have little impact outside their home door and school center. Many times the linguistic practices at home and at school have no continuity outside of it. In the youth universe, in the youth culture, the Basque country has few pillars and supports (…) Social, audiovisual, music, fashion, sport, crew, locals, nightclubs, parties… are elements, products and practices that occupy the youth world, where the Basque country has very little space.”10
If we look at the sociolinguistic data of recent years, we see that the use of Euskera in the street has entered a decreasing trend. Between 2006 and 2016 usage decreased by one point.Data from 2021 still don"t have them, but all indications suggest that this downward trend can be maintained.
Source: VII Use of Languages. Street. Euskal Herria 2016, Cluster of Sociolinguistics, July 2017
The loss experienced by the Basque Country has been especially significant in the Basque areas. Mikel Zalbide (12) Euskaltzaina states, among the reasons or factors that explain this regression: “radio TV, new telephony, internet, etc. an extraordinary revolution is taking place in the network of inter-inscriptions of speakers (…) at home”
On the other hand, if in recent times we look at the relationship between the educational system in the mouths of all and the Basque Country, the data are also worrying. In the Diagnosis of the Basque Educational System 2021 report, published by the ISEI of the Basque Government in July 2021, the data also show a decrease in the students" Basque competition: 53.3% of 2nd year students have not reached the Basque level of reference (B2).13 The same document shows the decrease in the internal use of Euskera in schools, both in classrooms and in backyards, over the last decade. 14
All of this data allows you to turn on all the alarms. It has been shown that the current educational model is not only capable of euskaldunizing students, let alone increasing the use of Euskera among them. As we have seen, leisure is closely related to people"s linguistic habits. And in today"s world, leisure is increasingly linked to screens. If the school lives in Basque but children and young people live their free time in Spanish, if their heroes of television, cinema, computers and mobiles and their main references are Castilian, they will choose to live in Spanish.
And beyond childhood and youth, the exclusion of an area linked to technology and modernity, the reception in Spanish of all social and cultural references, can very negatively influence the social representation of the Basque Country; the decrease in the prestige of the language and the lack of visibility of the different registries, such as the development and use of the informal unified Basque Country.
Therefore, audiovisual media can play an important role in the future situation of the Basque Country. But new forms of audiovisual consumption for non-hegemonic languages, and therefore for Euskera, if it is a risk to have an opportunity, require strong political decisions.
Izaskun Rekalde and Alex Aginagalde, representatives of the group of Euskaraz screens, in the Committee on Culture of the Basque Parliament, at 8.11.2021. Photo: Basque Parliament.
Measures for a healthy future of the Basque language
On 8 November 2021, representatives of the Euskaraz Screen attended the Committee on Culture of the Basque Parliament. The objective of this hearing was to share with the different parties and institutions of the CAPV our diagnosis of the current situation and make a series of proposals to guarantee the future of the Basque Country in the audiovisual media.
The parliamentary requests were:
a) towards platforms: To set minimum production and content quotas for the Basque Country to the platforms in the new General Audiovisual Law of the State (7.5%); to include in the contents of these platforms the existing Basque audios and subtitles (many of the films included in the catalogues, although in their day they are folded for ETB do not offer them in Basque; nor are the subtitles created for festivals and television); to ensure that all the lines are subtitles
Creation of a platform in Basque. The Basque community needs a tool adapted to the new technologies, capable of satisfying the new habits of audiovisual consumption. In order to dress this content and awaken the interest of the public, in addition to its own productions, it would be essential to double and sub-write the successful international contents to create a wide and attractive catalogue.
b) Offer in Basque the premieres of children and young people to solve the grave situation of discrimination experienced by Euskera in relation to the cine.In the other films, dubbing/subtitling that allows to see at least half of the films in Basque. Let this be an obligation for producers, distributors and cinemas.
d) That, in view of ETB, it be the engine of the audiovisual in Basque and an authentic instrument for the normalization of the Basque country (as pointed out in its Law 5/1982 of creation): on the one hand, to prioritize the chains in Basque in resources and in programming, enhancing Basque productions and translating foreign ones into Basque. On the other hand, to make visible and give social prestige to the Basque Country in the Castilian chains of ETB, as a way of attracting people from Castilian to the Basque Country, giving priority to the appearance in Basque both to the characters referent to the sporting, cultural and social sphere as well as to the citizens of the respiratory zones, and using, where appropriate, subtitles in Spanish.
(e) Laws. In order to be able to carry out the above measures with full guarantees, in addition to affecting state laws, it would be necessary to develop the Basque and cinematographic audiovisual laws themselves. They would set language profiles for television, platforms and cinemas, and linguistic criteria for grants.
(f) Structures. In an increasingly diverse audiovisual world, audiovisual councils should be set up to ensure, guarantee and enforce transparency, diversity, audiovisual laws and linguistic rights. The Council of Europe recommended that the Member States set up the Councils in 2000. Most European countries, as well as Catalonia, Andalusia and Valencia in the State itself.
These proposals, together with other measures, were presented in Parliament and worked for months with the main audiovisual and cultural agents of the Basque Country, and included in the MANIFESTO BY AUDIOVISUAL MEDIA IN EUSKERA 15. The Manifesto, presented on December 4 at the Durango Fair, had the support of 37 agents from all over Euskal Herria, among which were agents in the field of Basque Culture, Audiovisual and Education: Council of Euskalgintza, Euskaltzaleen Topagunea, Hekimen elkartea, Basque Confederation, Commonwealth of Basque Municipalities, IBAIA, Association of Independent Basque Producers, Association of Basque Producers, Napar production naparra, Association of Northern Squeegees, Federation of Ikastolas, Sortzen,
Looking forward to what?
Over the past few months, we have made our contribution to moving the issue to social and political debate, and we want to continue to do so. The Council, Topagune, Hekimen and Tokikom collaborate with the Spanish General Audiovisual Law, and it seems that some of the requests submitted will be considered in the new law 16. The debate in the Spanish Congress will continue closely throughout the year with the aim of guaranteeing the linguistic rights of the Basques and Basques, and we will try to influence the new regulations from the front with the linguistic movements of Catalonia and Galicia.
The creation of the new platform announced by EITB will continue with great interest. Hopefully we get the news from the Primeran platform, but apparently, contrary to what we asked, it will be bilingual. And unfortunately, practice has shown over and over again that when you put in the same instrument a hegemonic language and a minority language necessarily produces an imbalance in favour of the dominant language. However, an attempt will be made to influence the implementation of the platform so that this application, which will be created with public funds, focuses on the Basque language and, at least, on all its contents, guarantees the right to see them in our language.
If we want to imagine a future in Basque for our people, we have to be aware of its strategic character. The train has split and we will have to run a lot if we want to go up the next station.
Basque culture, producer associations and the main educational players clearly see the importance that the new and varied audiovisual world has for the future of our language. With the MANIFESTO that we have prepared with the contributions of all and all, we have an instrument to demand concrete commitments and firm steps to the institutions and parties throughout the Basque Country. This will be the 2022 roadmap.
AMEZAGA, JOSU; ARES, CARLOS; ARTATXO, JON; MARÍN Y OTTO, ENRIC; RIPOLL, JAUME y SANTAMARIA, LAURA (2020): New paradigm of audiovisual and non-hegemonic languages. Coppieters Foundation and Ezkerraberri Foundation. Brussels.
Diagnosis of the Basque Educational System 2021, Basque Institute of Educational Evaluation and Research. ISEI-IVEI, S.L. 2021
GOIA, GARAZI (2021): Audiovisual, global view of the Basque Country Forum Gipuzkoa Berdinago, Provincial Council of Gipuzkoa, 22.12.2021
HERNANDEZ, JONE MIREN and ALTUNA, OLATZ (2020): Young people in the Basque context: the issue of use. Sociolinguistic cluster. Andoain.
Measurement VII. Kale Erabilera. Basque Country 2016, Cluster of Sociolinguistics, Andoain, July 2017.
Panel Ikusiker 2020-2021: Secondary education and audiovisual consumption and use of ICT by university students. 25.Report, UPV/EHU, July 2021.
Panel Ikusiker 2021-2022: Audiovisual consumption. 26.Report, UPV/EHU, November 2021.
Zalbide, Mikel (2019): Respiratory areas. BAT 110, 2019 (1) | 11-78 | Cluster of Sociolinguistics, Andoain.
1.- https://www.berria .eus/paperekoa/1925/038/001/2021-06-09/auxiliary euskara-ha-intern.htm
3.- Marin and Otto, Enric, Digitalization and transformation of the audiovisual ecosystem in: Josu AMEZAGA, Carlos ARES, Jon ARTATXO, Enric MARÍN, Jaume RIPOLL and Laura SANTAMARIA (2020) New paradigm of audiovisual and non-hegemonic languages. Coppieters Foundation and Ezkerraberri Foundation. Brussels. P. 55-56
4.- Goia, Garazi in “Ikus-entzunezkoak, a global look at Euskal Herria” Forum Gipuzkoa Berdinago, Diputación Foral de Gipuzkoa, 22.12.2021
5.- Irazabalbeitia Iñaki Aitzin Solasa in: Josu AMEZAGA, Carlos ARES, Jon ARTATXO, Enric MARÍN, Jaume RIPOLL and Laura SANTAMARIA (2020) New paradigm of audiovisual and non-hegemonic languages. Coppieters Foundation and Ezkerraberri Foundation. Brussels. (p. 14)
7.- Panel Ikusiker 2021-2022: Audiovisual consumption. 26.Report, November 2021.
8.- https://www.ei.eus/eu/eitb ei-taldea/osoa/8557673/euskal-teleb\ -azken -10-φs-audenciar-effect-en-du-2021- multi/
10.- HERNANDEZ, J.M and ALTUNA, O. (2020) Youth on the Basque scene: issue of use. Sociolinguistic cluster. Andoain. p. 108
11.- Measurement VII. Street Language Use. Basque Country 2016, Cluster of Sociolinguistics, Andoain, July 2017, p. 7.
12.- Zalbide, Mikel. Respiratory areas. Challenges of the Future in Bat Revista Sociollingual 110, 2019 (1) | 11-78 | Cluster of Sociolinguistics, Andoain
13.- Diagnosis of the Basque Educational System 2021, Basque Institute of Educational Evaluation and Research. ISEI-IVEI, S.L. 2021 (pag 117-129)
14.- Diagnosis of the Basque Educational System 2021, Basque Institute of Educational Evaluation and Research. ISEI-IVEI, S.L. 2021 (pag 128)
16.- https://tip .eus/course-politica/reasAsPor -put in evidence -du-visuali-los-use-tea-past-accreditation-source-
17.- https://tip .eus/wp-content/uploads/2021/12/Scandallos