Spanish, Catalan and Aranese are the three official languages of Catalonia, according to the Constitution (1978) and the Statute of Autonomy (2006), and the public administration of the Generalitat must give the three the same treatment, on paper. However, with something as simple as the availability on the internet of the official regional websites, an obvious discrimination is manifested for citizens who want to obtain information and contact the Generalitat in Spanish or Aranese. This is stated in a report of the Impulso Ciudadano association that analyzes some eighty websites of the Catalan autonomous administration.
Under the title ‘Travel through 80 websites of the Generalitat’, the entity scans the presence of the official languages, both in their digital content and in the links that are available in them.
The report’s conclusion is resounding: “Omnipresence of Catalan and discrimination of Spanish and Aranese”. All the spaces are in Catalan, some in Spanish and very few in Aranese. In some pages, even the Generalitat and the Catalan Parliament incorporate Google’s automatic translator, equating Spanish with foreign languages and noting that: “There is no revision of the translation, therefore it may contain errors.”
Right and obligation
From Impulso Ciudadano, an association chaired by José Domingo, they recall that the online relationship between administrations and citizens is increasingly important, since a large part of it is done through access to official web pages. In this sense, it is a right of citizens and an obligation for public administrations, according to Law 11/2007 on Electronic Access of Citizens to Public Services, to be able to interact electronically and do it with the necessary means to do so. And do it without discrimination, not linguistics either.
According to the report, consulted by ABC, neither the Generalitat nor the Parliament comply with the Constitution, the Statute and the derived regulations. These discriminations, in linguistic matters, occur from informative pages (almost propagandistic), such as that of the President of the Generalitat, to some that include guides and strategic plans in economic matters, health guides or the websites of the approved budgets, through the website of the regional Parliament.
Among the eighty scanned pages is, for example, President.cat, dedicated to the figure of the regional president, with his biography and his daily activity, basically. This space is one hundred percent in Catalan and has an English translation. No sign of Spanish or Aranese. Zero lines.
Another example is the website of the Parliament, an institution that represents all Catalans. The page is in Catalan and, although a tab appears that refers to ‘Languages’, it is only an automatic translation of a selection of static spaces (history, glossary …). Laws are published in Spanish and Aranese (in this language to a lesser extent), but some time after their approval and in Catalan. However the Legal Portal of the Generalitat (which includes all the regulations that affect Catalonia) is exclusively in Catalan, unlike the Official Gazette, which incorporates Spanish, but not Aranese.
The cases are repeated, to a greater or lesser extent, in almost all the analyzed pages. The news of the Government, for example, is published weeks later in Spanish. Videos on the health of babies on the website of the Ministry of Health, only in Catalan. The same happens with the guides on dependency or the virtual assistant to access the help of the guaranteed income. The page that collects the budgets for 2022, only in Catalan.
“The result is clearly discriminatory for those citizens who want to receive information or interact in Spanish or Aranese with the Generalitat”, they point out from the entity, which will send the report to the Ombudsman, the Síndic de Greuges, as well as the Generalitat and Parliament to correct the situation.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism