Local Media for Democracy — country focus: Spain

Report authored by Elena Yeste Piquer, Blanquerna School of Communication and International Relations, Ramon Llull University


Studies have provided insights into different facets of local news deserts in Spain, contributing to recent academic discussion. One study[1] identifies municipalities that face the risk of turning into news deserts, characterised by a lack of diverse media outlets. The research underscores the crucial role of local news coverage in meeting critical information needs, highlighting factors like population size, economic conditions, and technological accessibility as contributors to the emergence of news deserts. Another study[2] delves into the contemporary landscape of digital journalism, with a specific focus on digital natives. It uncovers the existence of digital information deserts in regions experiencing depopulation, where digital native media outlets step in to address gaps left by the disappearance of traditional media. The results under LM4D align with these studies.

The discussion extends to legal frameworks shaping media landscapes, namely the recently enacted Law 13/2022 of 7 July, General Law on Audiovisual Communication[3]. Community media are mentioned in Article 5, where they are considered key agents for the pluralization of information. Additionally, they have a specific role to play in the development of media literacy, as stated in Article 10. Article 49 covers the provision of audio-visual communication services for non-profit community television stations, while Article 81 covers audio-visual communication services for non-profit community radios.

In 2019, the Catalan Parliament released a preliminary report for public consultation proposing changes to address concerns about non-profit community media’s legal status. The approval of the Catalan Government’s draft law on audio-visual communication in 2023 represents progress in establishing a more defined regulatory framework[4].

The most impoverished regions in Spain coincide with news deserts. The City of Melilla, Ceuta, and La Rioja are the three with the lowest number of local online media outlets[5]. This aligns with their designation as the most economically deprived NUTS2 regions[6]. Internet usage, despite a national rate of 94%, varies in certain Autonomous Communities[7]. Even in regions with lower rates, the presence of local cybermedia suggests that internet penetration does not necessarily equate to a lack of access to local news. Despite lower internet usage rates in specific regions, such as Galicia, Extremadura, and Cantabria, they exhibit substantial local media presence.

[1]  M. Negreira-Rey, J. Vázquez-Herrero, X. López-García, ‘No People, No News: News Deserts and Areas at Risk in Spain’, Media and Communication, 11(3) (2023), 293-303, https://doi.org/10.17645/mac.v11i3.6727

[2]  ‘Cibermedios nativos digitales en España. Caracterización y tendencias’, infotendencias, DIGINATIVEMEDIA, 2021, http://infotendencias.com/presentacion-·-cibermedios-nativos-digitales-en-espana-caracterizacion-y-tendencias/

[3] Ley 13/2022, de 7 de julio, General de Comunicación Audiovisual, BOE (Boletín Oficial del Estado), 2022, https://www.boe.es/buscar/act.php?id=BOE-A-2022-11311

[4] ‘Memòria preliminar de l’Avantprojecte de llei de modificació de la Llei 22/2005, de 29 de desembre, de la comunicació audiovisual de Catalunya’, Participa.gencat.cat, 2019, https://participa.gencat.cat/uploads/decidim/attachment/file/865/AG_Memoria_preliminar_Avantprojecte_reforma_LC

[5] R. Salaverría, M.-P. Martínez-Costa, S. Negredo, M. Paisana, M. Crespo, IBERIFIER Digital Media Dataset (1.1.0) [Data set]. Zenodo, 2022, https://map.iberifier.eu/

[6] ‘Gross domestic product (GDP) at current market prices by NUTS 2 regions’, Eurostat, 2023.

[7] ‘Survey on Equipment and Use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) in Households. Year 2022’, INE (Instituto Nacional de Estadística), 2022, https://www.ine.es/en/prensa/tich_2022_en.pdf

Main findings

Granularity of infrastructure of local media – Low risk (33%)

The data on news deserts reveals five Spanish Autonomous Communities having over 90% of their municipalities classified as news deserts[2], based on the examination of digital media throughout the country. Out of the total 8,131 municipalities in Spain, 77.5% lack local media or regular news coverage, affecting 24.5% of the country’s population. Additionally, 6.4% of municipalities are covered by only one media outlet.

Analysing the distribution of media outlets per municipality[3], excepting for news deserts, the norm is 1-5 outlets providing regular news coverage. Municipalities with 6-10 outlets are uncommon, and those exceeding 10 outlets are exceptional. 

Urban communities typically enjoy the robust presence of local media outlets, with various media groups in different Autonomous Communities. These outlets include independent local newspapers, local editions of national and regional newspapers, as well as online-only local media platforms.

In rural areas, local media outlets, especially digital platforms, play a crucial role in providing information, even in the largest Autonomous Communities with lower population densities. These digital platforms have gained significance in depopulated regions, contributing to the preservation of the right to information in geographically remote areas. However, the sustainability of these small media initiatives remains a challenge. Traditional media have gradually reduced their presence, including correspondents, in rural areas. Another study[4] emphasises this concern, examining around 30 small digital media platforms that have surfaced in rural areas of Aragon. Aragon is ranked as the fourth-largest autonomous community in terms of territorial extension and stands out as one of the most sparsely populated regions.

The journalism profession in rural and small urban areas is characterised by a stable but potentially decreasing number of journalists, with disparities between provinces[5]. These professionals play a vital role in reporting on local communities. However, they face challenges such as instability, precariousness, low wages, and limited prospects for the future.

The media landscape in Spain is dominated by four private major nationwide multimedia corporations and several regional media groups. In addition, 13 out of the 17 Spanish Autonomous Communities have their own autonomous public broadcasting corporations, functioning independently and being part of the Federation of Autonomous Radio and Television Organisations (FORTA).

According to Law 17/2006 regulating state-owned radio and television in Spain[6], the Public Service Media (PSM) Corporación de Radio y Televisión Española (RTVE) is required to establish a territorial structure for effective public service functions. This involves the establishment of a regional centre managed by RTVE in each of the 17 Autonomous Communities in Spain. These centres employ journalists dedicated to covering local and regional news.

Spain’s public news agency, EFE, operates through delegations in the capitals of the 17 Autonomous Communities, Ceuta, and Melilla. Several Autonomous Communities have multiple delegations, ensuring the presence of local and regional correspondents in smaller cities across the country.

The map you can find at the following link refers to the number of local digital media in Spain
in 2022. The original data source for this visualisation is Ramón Salaverría, María-Pilar
Martínez-Costa, Samuel Negredo, Miguel Paisana, & Miguel Crespo. (2022). IBERIFIER Digital Media Dataset (1.1.0) [Data set]. Zenodo. and you can access it here.

[2] Negreira-Rey, Vázquez-Herrero, López-García, ‘No People, No News’, 293-303.

[3] Negreira-Rey, Vázquez-Herrero, López-García, ‘No People, No News’, 293-303.

[4] A. Segura-Anaya, I. Iniesta-Alemán, A.-C. Mancho-De-la-Iglesia, C. Marta-Lazo, ‘El derecho a la información en las zonas despobladas como oportunidad de empleo y desarrollo en el medio rural: caso de los medios digitales hiperlocales en las comarcas de Aragón, España’, in: Comunicación y diversidad. Selección de comunicaciones del VII Congreso Internacional de la Asociación Española de Investigación de la Comunicación (AE-IC) (Valencia: EPI SL, 2020), 205-216, https://doi.org/10.3145/AE-IC-epi.2020.e10

[5] ‘Situación de las profesiones de periodistas/comunicadores en el mercado de trabajo andaluz. Informe elaborado por el Observatorio Argos, del Servicio Andaluz de Empleo para el Colegio Profesional de Periodistas de Andalucía’, Colegio Profesional de Periodistas de Andalucía, 2020, https://periodistasandalucia.es/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/informe-situacion-sector-periodistas-comunicadores-CPPA-ARGOS.pdf ; ‘Memòria d’actuació 2022’, Col·legi de Periodistes de Catalunya, 2023, 40-41: https://www.periodistes.cat/sites/default/files/public/continguts/basic/assemblea-2023/documents/00-memoria-periodistes-2022-v5.pdf

[6] Ley 17/2006, de 5 de junio, de la radio y la televisión de titularidad estatal, BOE (Boletín Oficial del Estado), 2006, https://www.boe.es/buscar/act.php?id=BOE-A-2006-9958

Market and reach – Medium risk (48%)

Regional and local television companies’ revenues have increased in a vast majority of the companies[1]. In 2021, the total revenues of public radio-TV organisations reached 2,293.5 million euros[2]. In 2020, newspaper sales reached 355.6 million euros, with 38.17% unsold copies, and magazine sales 172.3 million euros, with 58.54% unsold copies[3].
Despite some closures, there has been significant growth in online local media outlets. Recent data[4] indicate the presence of 2,816 digital news media outlets in Spain. This suggests that the shutdowns of traditional local media have been partially compensated by the rise of online media. In contrast, local radio stations have shown more stability, while the impact of local TV station closures has been relatively limited.
Television remains a dominant force in terms of audience penetration, reaching 79.3% in 2022[5]. Radio follows with 54.4%, and online radio has a share of 10.2%. Print and digital newspaper editions collectively attained a penetration rate of 41.8%, with a decline in the print edition and an increase in the digital edition. Magazines achieved a 30.3% penetration rate, with a notable audience for both print and digital versions.
The press landscape in Spain has witnessed substantial changes in recent years, with a 24% decline in the number of press points of sale (PoS) between 2018 and 2021[6].
Financial support from media subsidies is essential for supporting regional and local media, with the responsibility largely falling on Autonomous Communities. The distribution of media subsidies shows a declining trend from 2018 to 2020[7], with the press sector receiving the largest share. Calls for media aid are present in nine Autonomous Communities.
State institutional advertising is regulated by Law 29/2005[8], coexisting with regional laws in various Autonomous Communities.

Studies conducted on institutional advertising policies shed light on the funding dynamics, with press outlets dominating the investment, despite a decline in press consumption[1] [2] [9].
In 2022, the advertising market witnessed an estimated real investment of 12,214.2 million euros, marking a 4.7% growth from the previous year[10]. The digital sector continued its dominance, comprising 46.9% of the total volume and experiencing a 7.6% growth. Television, ranking second with a 30.4% share, faced a 3.3% decline in investment at 1,731.8 million euros, unlike other media that saw an increase. Within television, regional channels saw a 4.9% growth to 92.5 million euros, while local televisions rose by 0.5% to 2.3 million euros. Radio secured the third position, with a 7.7% growth to 447.2 million euros. Newspapers, representing 6% of the total market, increased their advertising investment by 1.2% to 340 million euros compared to 2021.
The enactment of Law 13/2022[11] has brought changes to the community media landscape, recognising its importance in promoting media pluralism. However, community media, particularly free and community radios, face economic, organisational, and legal precarity. The risk level for trends in community media revenue is, therefore, high. While some have thrived, the overall support for community media remains lacking, with international organisations highlighting the need for effective measures in Spanish legislation.
The Digital News Report 2023 indicates that a majority of internet users in Spain find local information relevant. Despite a concentration of paid news in national and regional newspapers, subscriptions to regional and local titles have increased from 5% in 2021 to 9% in 2023. Digital news payments are prevalent, with 13% of Spaniards paying for online news.
Local media outlets, both offline and online, have consistently maintained a stable weekly reach[12]. In the offline realm, public TV/radio news achieves a 17% reach, newspapers 14%, and private TV/radio news 11%. Meanwhile, in the online domain, newspapers secure a 12% reach, public TV/radio news 10%, and private TV/radio news 8%.

[1] ‘Regional and local television companies revenues’, European Audiovisual Observatory from data provided by the AMADEUS database, 2022.
[2] ‘Radio-TV licence fee and revenues per inhabitant of public radio-television companies in Europe (2021)’, European Audiovisual Observatory, 2022.
[3] ‘European Press Distribution Benchmark’, FANDE (Federación de Asociaciones Nacionales de Distribuidores de Ediciones), 2021.
[4] M. Negreira-Rey, J. Vázquez-Herrero, X. López-García, ‘No People, No News: News Deserts and Areas at Risk in Spain’, Media and Communication, 11(3) (2023), 293-303, https://doi.org/10.17645/mac.v11i3.6727
[5] ‘Marco General de los Medios en España 2023’, Asociación para la Investigación de Medios de Comunicación (AIMC), https://www.aimc.es/a1mc-c0nt3nt/uploads/2023/02/Marco_General_Medios_2023.pdf
[6] ‘European Press Distribution Benchmark (June 2021)’, International Publishing Distribution Association (IPDA), 2021.
[7] G. Aguado-Guadalupe, J.J. Blasco-Gil, ‘Regional public subsidies for the media in Spain: amounts, beneficiaries and impact on income statements’, Communication & Society, 36(1) (2023), 81-93, https://doi.org/10.15581/
[8] Ley 29/2005, de 29 de diciembre, de Publicidad y Comunicación Institucional, BOE (Boletín Oficial del Estado), 2005, https://www.boe.es/buscar/pdf/2005/BOE-A-2005-21524-consolidado.pdf
[9] G. Aguado-Guadalupe, J.J. Blasco-Gil, ‘Regional public subsidies for the media in Spain’, 81-93. See also: B. Galletero-Campos, ‘La publicidad institucional y la sombra de la discrecionalidad: regulación, inversión en medios y control parlamentario en Castilla y León’, Derecom, 33 (2022), 137-160, http://www.derecom.com/secciones/articulos-de-fondo/item/487-la-publicidad-institucional-y-la-sombra-de-la-discrecionalidad-regulacion-inversion-en-medios-y-control-parlamentario-en-castilla-y-leon
[10] ‘Estudio Info Adex de la inversión publicitaria en España 2023’. Resumen, InfoAdex, 2023, https://www.infoadex.es/home/wp-content/uploads/2023/02/Resumen-Estudio-InfoAdex-2023.pdf
[11] Ley 13/2022, de 7 de julio, General de Comunicación Audiovisual, BOE (Boletín Oficial del Estado), 2022, https://www.boe.es/buscar/act.php?id=BOE-A-2022-11311
[12] N. Newman, R. Fletcher, C.T. Robertson, K. Eddy, R. Kleis-Nielsen, ‘Reuters Institute Digital News Report 2023’, 2023, https://reutersinstitute.politics.ox.ac.uk/sites/default/files/2023-06/Digital_News_Report_2023.pdf

Safety of local journalists – Medium risk (54%)

In general terms, all the benefits exist for journalists, as for other workers in Spain. Official data[1] indicate that the unemployment rate among journalists has once again decreased by 17% in 2022, reaching its lowest point since the 2008 crisis. However, 61% of journalists claim to work more than 40 hours per week. Nearly one-third of employed journalists earn less than 1,450 euros per month; for freelancers, the figure rises to 50% earning less than 1,500 euros per month. Though this data does not refer only to local media, the numbers can be illustrative also of the situation at the local level.

When asked about the main problems affecting their profession, journalists still place at the top of the list low wages, unemployment and consequent job insecurity. Added to this, journalists mention the lack of politically and economically independent media and the increasing workload that prevents them from producing good information.

The primary issue confronting freelance or self-employed journalists lies in their earned income and the absence of a suitable labour framework that meets their needs. Every year, more journalists opt to register as self-employed and work as freelance journalists.[2] The count has surpassed 73,500 professionals, and data from the last five years indicates a rising trend in the population of self-employed journalists. 69% of self-employed journalists choose this option out of necessity, while 31% declared themselves self-employed voluntarily.

There have been several cases of attacks or threats to the physical safety of journalists and an increasing trend over recent years. In 2023, Mapping Media Freedom[3] recorded 13 alerts for physical assaults and 24 alerts for verbal attacks, indicating an increase compared to the last five years.

There are currently fifty journalists’ associations aimed at ensuring editorial independence and respecting professional standards. These associations are primarily at the provincial level, although some are specific to municipalities or regions. While prominent professional associations such as the Federation of the Press Associations of Spain (FAPE) and the Association of Journalists of Catalonia advocate for journalists’ impartiality and adherence to ethical codes, their effectiveness in ensuring editorial independence and ethical standards is constrained.

Locally, there have been some cases of SLAPP directly linked to the practice of journalism, although the tendency is not high. In this regard, local media outlets are equally vulnerable to such threats.

[1] Asociación de la Prensa de Madrid, Informe Anual de la Profesión Periodística 2022, 2022, https://www.apmadrid.es/wp-content/uploads/2023/11/Informe-Anual-22_web_lite.pdf.

[2] C. Puerta, Una conversación sobre periodismo ‘freelance’ y su sostenibilidad, Cuadernos de Periodistas, 44 (2022), https://www.cuadernosdeperiodistas.com/una-conversacion-sobre-periodismo-freelance-y-su-sostenibilidad/.

[3] Mapping Media Freedom, https://www.mappingmediafreedom.org/.

Editorial independence – Medium risk (50%)

Political control over media in Spain does not exist through direct or indirect ownership of the media at regional and local level. However, this does not imply the absence of political influence, as it can manifest through institutional advertising and subsidies, and the granting of licences.

General criteria for the distribution of direct subsidies are usually public, transparent, and objectified. Competition between applicants is the predominant system in the subsidy distribution method. In six out of the nine Autonomous Communities, the allocated budget was distributed among the recipients based on objective and regulated criteria, with scores determining the proportion of funding. There is a divergence, though, in budget allocations[1].

The legal framework, primarily governed by Law 29/2005[2], seeks to ensure transparency and objectivity in the allocation of advertising resources for institutional communication and campaigns. However, the absence of specific provisions in Law 19/2014 on Transparency and Good Governance[3] regarding institutional advertising has created a lack of clarity. This opacity raises concerns about transparency and gives rise to allegations of discretionary allocation practices when utilising public funds for such purposes[4].

The prevailing perception in Spain is that the majority, if not all, of the media outlets prioritise their commercial interests (56%) or political interests (53%) over the general welfare[5]. In 2022, only 24% of hired journalists and 22% of freelancers reported no pressure while preparing their information[6]. Additionally, the data shows that 46% of hired professionals and 53% of freelancers have occasionally faced pressures. A majority, 54% of hired journalists and 58% of freelancers, attribute these pressures to their media managers, while 22% of hired journalists and 44% of freelancers identify economic agents or their press departments as sources of pressure.

Journalists attribute pressures primarily to the specific interests of the company, cited by 37% of hired journalists and 44% of freelancers, with economic interests ranking as the second major motivation.

The National Commission of Markets and Competition (CNMC), appointed by the Executive, is Spain’s main regulatory authority. Spain lacks a national audio-visual council, unlike other EU countries. Instead, regional audio-visual councils, such as Catalonia, Andalusia, the Balearic Islands, and the Valencian Community, oversee the audio-visual sector within their regions. These councils ensure regulatory compliance, promote diversity, and protect user rights independently.

Different cases of political influence need to be pointed out in the practice of PSM[7]. The existing mechanisms fall short in preventing political interference in the appointment and dismissal of editors-in-chief in both public and private media.

While local media outlets offer a wide range of stories, it is important to acknowledge that the diversity of viewpoints and tone can sometimes be limited. There do exist legal prescriptions and the necessary mechanisms for the proper implementation of the law aimed at impartiality in news and informative programmes on PSM channels and services. But these legal prescriptions are not implemented effectively[8].

The diversity of private channels in Spain ensures a certain level of external pluralism, despite commercial and political influences over editorial content. After all, the media environment is pluralistic with a variety of commercial and public television and radio channels, as well as newspapers and internet portals. However, for what pertains the coverage of political parties during election campaigns, some reports state that proportionality and plurality are not observed by private media and sometimes by the PSM: this was the case – for example- in Catalonia[9].

[1] G. Aguado-Guadalupe, J.J. Blasco-Gil, ‘Regional public subsidies for the media in Spain: amounts, beneficiaries and impact on income statements’, Communication & Society, 36(1) (2023), 81-93, https://doi.org/10.15581/

[2] Ley 29/2005, de 29 de diciembre, de Publicidad y Comunicación Institucional, BOE (Boletín Oficial del Estado), 2005, https://www.boe.es/buscar/pdf/2005/BOE-A-2005-21524-consolidado.pdf

[3] Ley 19/2014, de 29 de diciembre, de transparencia, acceso a la información pública y buen gobierno, BOE (Boletín Oficial del Estado), 2014, https://www.boe.es/buscar/pdf/2015/BOE-A-2015-470-consolidado.pdf

[4] R. Magallón Rosa, ‘La publicidad institucional de la Comunidad de Madrid. Evolución de su transparencia y rendición de cuentas’, Derecom, 33 (2022), 113-135, http://www.derecom.com/secciones/articulos-de-fondo/item/485-la-publicidad-institucional-de-la-comunidad-de-madrid-evolucion-de-su-transparencia-y-rendicion-de-cuentas

[5] A. Vara Miguel, ‘​​La independencia de los medios españoles ante los grupos de presión, bajo sospecha’, Digital News Report España 2022, 2022, https://www.digitalnewsreport.es/2022/la-independencia-de-los-medios-espanoles-ante-los-grupos-de-presion-bajo-sospecha/

[6] ‘Informe Anual de la Profesión Periodística 2022’, Asociación de la Prensa de Madrid, 2022, https://www.apmadrid.es/wp-content/uploads/2023/11/Informe-Anual-22_web_lite.pdf

[7] E.C. ‘Trabajadores de Canal Sur elaboran un informe con 130 ejemplos de manipulación en los informativos’, La Voz del Sur (5 Oct. 2022), https://www.lavozdelsur.es/actualidad/politica/trabajadores-canal-sur-elaboran-informe-con-130-ejemplos-manipulacion-en-informativos_283881_102.html; ‘Los trabajadores de RTVCYL denuncian “manipulación” en su información política’, Cadena SER (22 Sept. 2022), https://cadenaser.com/castillayleon/2022/09/22/los-trabajadores-de-rtvcyl-denuncian-manipulacion-en-su-informacion-politica-radio-valladolid/; S.R. ‘Trabajadores y colectivos sociales se manifiestan contra el “secuestro” de la radiotelevisión gallega por parte de la Xunta, El País (6 Nov. 2022), https://elpais.com/television/2022-11-06/trabajadores-y-colectivos-sociales-se-manifiestan-contra-el-secuestro-de-la-radiotelevision-gallega-por-parte-de-la-xunta.html

[8] ‘Nueve de 16 televisiones locales públicas andaluzas aumentan el tiempo dedicado a gobiernos municipales, según el CAA’, Europa Press, 2022, https://www.europapress.es/esandalucia/sevilla/noticia-nueve-16-televisiones-locales-publicas-andaluzas-aumentan-tiempo-dedicado-gobiernos-municipales-caa-20220321130922.html

[9] ‘Acuerdo 22/2021 de aprobación del Informe específico de pluralismo en la televisión y en la radio durante la campaña de las elecciones al Parlament de Catalunya 2021 (del 29 de enero al 12 de febrero)’, Consell Audiovisual de Catalunya, 2021. https://www.cac.cat/es/documentacio/acuerdo-222021-aprobacion-del-informe-especifico-pluralismo-la-television-y-la-radio

Social inclusiveness – Medium risk (46%)

Local and regional radio and television stations broadcasting in languages other than Spanish are the main exception. Law 17/2006[1], established on June 5th, regulates radio and television ownership. This law focuses on the structure of RTVE, mandating that regional disconnections in centres within Autonomous Communities with distinct languages be conducted in that respective language. Accordingly, regional centres in Autonomous Communities like the Balearic Islands, Galicia, Catalonia, the Basque Country, Navarra, and Valencia follow this provision, offering language-specific programming, including news broadcasts.

Despite the absence of legally recognised minorities in Spain, minorities do usually have some access to airtime in local newsrooms. The main issue lies in the fact that this access is often not proportional to their population size in the country.

Concerns have been raised regarding the way the Spanish media address critical issues related to migration[2]. Particularly highlighted is the treatment of child immigrants, with the prevalent use of the acronym MENA, prioritising migratory status over childhood, contributing to biassed representation in the Spanish media.

Community radios have served as crucial spaces for citizen engagement and expression since the inception of democracy. In addition to being a platform for different sectors and showcasing realities overlooked by mainstream media, they have played a significant role as community-building tools[3] for marginalised groups. They have facilitated community events, partnered with local organisations, and acted as catalysts for social and cultural life within their neighbourhoods. For instance, OMC Radio[4] provides programs focused on mental health, created by individuals experiencing homelessness, or individuals seeking asylum and refugees. These stations address specific community needs, including offering access to various youth groups and collaborating with educational and social service centres.

Approximately 75% of Spaniards rely on local journalistic sources for their news, and 63% have a high level of interest in local and regional news[5]. However, this interest decreases to 34% among individuals between the ages of 18 and 24. Newspapers and their online platforms serve as the primary outlet for local news across all age ranges, accounting for 47% of respondents, while television and digital media follow closely behind with 39%.

The presence of local and hyperlocal[6] media in Spain is substantial. In 2018, these types of publications constituted more than 70% of the country’s online media, indicating a strong focus on proximity through the internet and mobile devices[7]. The advent of digital technologies has led to a noticeable resurgence of interest in local and regional news over the last two decades. 

[1] Ley 17/2006, de 5 de junio, de la radio y la televisión de titularidad estatal, BOE (Boletín Oficial del Estado), 2006, https://www.boe.es/buscar/act.php?id=BOE-A-2006-9958

[2] ‘Informe Inmigracionalismo 2021. Tratamiento mediático de las migraciones en España’, Red Acoge, 2021, https://inmigracionalismo.es/wp-content/uploads/2021/11/Informe_Inmigracionalismo_2021.pdf

[3] J. García, ‘Transformaciones y aprendizajes de las radios comunitarias en España: hacia un modelo de radio inclusiva’, Anuario Electrónico de Estudios en Comunicación Social “Disertaciones”, 10(1) (2017), 30-41, https://www.redalyc.org/journal/5115/511552608003/html/

[4] OMC Radio, 2023, https://www.omcradio.org/inicio/omc-radio/nosotras/

[5] A. Amoedo-Casais, E. Moreno-Moreno, S. Negredo-Bruna, J. Kaufmann-Argueta, ‘Digital News Report España 2023’, 2023, https://dadun.unav.edu/handle/10171/66667

[6] The term ‘hyperlocal’ is associated with media or publications that are specifically focused on a particular neighbourhood or district.

[7] R. Rivas-de-Roca, ‘Los medios locales y la rentabilidad. Estudio de casos digitales en Europa’, in: P. Sidorenko, J.M. Herranz de la Casa, R. Terol, R., N. Alonso, eds., Narrativas emergentes para la comunicación digital (Madrid: Dykinson, 2022),607-623, https://idus.us.es/handle/11441/142106

Best practices and open public sphere

There are some societal initiatives to tackle the problem posed by the decline of local and community news provision. AMIC Media[1], established in 1997, brings together 532 media outlets in Catalonia, including 140 free press titles, 54 paid press titles, and 338 digital media platforms. It serves the collective interests of its members. Another significant initiative is L’APPEC[2], founded in 1983, a non-profit organisation uniting publishers of Catalan-language magazines, with over 230 associated publications and digital media. Also, the Red de Medios Comunitarios (ReMC)[3] plays a key role in uniting and defending diverse media, initiatives, and citizen communication practices within Spain’s Third Sector of Communication. Since 2005, ReMC has fostered partnerships to empower marginalised groups through community media outlets.

Moreover, Spain hosts 27 citizens or civil society initiatives, including Newtral[4], specialising in audio-visual production, fact-checking, and new narratives; the digital news site elDiario.es[5]; Civio[6], a non-profit focusing on transparency in public information, and the slow journalism magazine Revista 5W[7], as listed in the media directory of Project Oasis.

[1] AMIC, Associació de Mitjans d’Informació i Comunicació, 2023, https://www.amic.media/

[2] APPEC (Associació de Publicacions Periòdiques en Català), 2023, https://www.lesrevistes.cat/

[3] ReMC (Red de Medios Comunitarios), 2023, https://medioscomunitarios.net/

[4] Newtral, 2023, www.newtral.es

[5] elDiario.es, 2023, www.eldiario.es

[6] Civio, 2023, www.civio.es

[7] Revista 5W, 2023, www.revista5w.com

Map of Local Digital Media in Spain

This map shows the number of local digital media in Spain in 2022. You have the option to filter by reach, ownership type and region. Hover over a region to view the number of digital media outlets, giving a breakdown by ownership type. Clicking on a specific region provides a detailed list of digital media outlets in the table below the map. This includes details on the various platforms the media operate on, ownership type, and their reach. The original data source for this visualization is Ramón Salaverría, María-Pilar Martínez-Costa, Samuel Negredo, Miguel Paisana, & Miguel Crespo and can be accessed by clicking here.