Avui

Avui
   Avui (Today) is the only Catalan-language daily newspaper available throughout Catalonia. Though it has an important role to play in the process of language normalization, it has never in fact been able to compete successfully with its main Spanish-language rivals, La Vanguardia and El Periódico de Catalunya. Avui was founded in 1976 by Premsa Catalana, its appearance following closely on the death of General Franco at the end of 1975. It was therefore part of the wide-ranging process not just of political but also of linguistic democratization of Spanish society which followed the dictator's death, since the publication of a Catalan-language newspaper would not have been tolerated during his highly centralizing regime. Though it also includes news from the rest of Spain, Avui gives a clear priority to Catalonia and Catalan issues, and is partly funded by grants from the Generalitat. Despite this, Avui's readership figures are by any standards disappointing, amounting to just over 150,000 per day, a figure which is less than one fifth of that of its main Spanish-language competitor, El Periódico de Catalunya.
   The inability of Avui to make a serious breakthrough in the daily newspaper market is a cause of some concern to those who point out that, despite the process of language normalization which has been going on in Catalonia since the early 1980s, the media—both written and electronic—are heavily dominated by the use of Spanish. A possible explanation is the fact that a considerable section of Catalan society—particularly the older generation—is in fact illiterate in Catalan, never having learned to read it at school. Consequently, while Catalan radio and television present no problems for them, and are indeed highly successful, printed media in Catalan present a number of obstacles which they would simply rather avoid. This argument is not without force, but does not satisfactorily account for Avui's continuing lack of success among younger Catalans, who still prefer to read La Vanguardia and El Periódico de Catalunya, or even Madrid-based newspapers such as El País.
   In fact, Avui's general political position seems rather unattractive to a younger Catalan audience. It might be described as nationalist conservative, and is one of broad support for CiU, the leading nationalist party in Catalonia since the re-establish-ment of the Generalitat in 1978. While its editorials support the project of increased Catalan autonomy and increased use of the Catalan language, it is generally cautious and certainly could not be described as campaigning. Politically, like CiU, Avui can be seen as representing some of the views of sectors of the Catalan middle and upper-middle classes which, according to its own documentation, also form the bulk of its readership.
   Further reading
   - Davies, J. (ed.) (1993) The Mercator Media Guide, Cardiff: University of Wales Press (contains short but informative entries on the main newspapers and television and radio stations in a number of minority languages, including Catalan).
   HUGH O'DONNELL

Encyclopedia of contemporary Spanish culture. 2013.

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