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Thursday, August 30, 2012

Live bullfights back on Spanish TV

Televisión Española is to air a 'short but symbolic' series of bullfights after new rightwing government took control of its board. Live bullfighting is returning to Spain's public broadcaster Televisión Española (TVE) after six years of viewers being unable to watch, in real time, the last few minutes of a bull's life.

A fight at the bullring in Valladolid is set to be broadcast on 5th September, allowing bullfight fans to see half a dozen animals fought and killed on the sand of the city's arena.

The decision to show live bullfighting comes after the conservative People's Party (PP) of Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy took control of the broadcaster's board and changed its senior management.
TVE will not pay the three bullfighters involved or the company that runs the Valladolid bullring, though it will bear the cost of setting up the multi-camera broadcast.Top matadors Julián López – known as El Juli – José María Manzanares and Alejandro Talavante have waived their royalties as part of a campaign to stop growing anti-bullfight sentiment that has already succeeded in getting the practice banned in the autonomous eastern region of Catalonia.

“TVE believes that the potential audience that might be attracted to this lineup is, in itself, a sufficient reason for broadcasting it,” a spokesman said. “This will be the first of a short but symbolic series of bullfights … which Spain's public television channel plans to programme,” TVE added.
bullfight1TVE pulled bullfighting from its schedules last year, saying it contravened its code of conduct for programmes before Spain's late evening watershed hour. Bullfights mostly start at 6pm or 7pm, falling into children's viewing hours and so raised issues of protecting children from the bloodshed. However, furious fans had accused the broadcaster of shunning a key part of Spanish popular culture. “This means that TVE, which belongs to us all, will deprive us of something that over the centuries has formed part of the cultural patrimony of many Spaniards, both of the political right and the left,” columnist Andrés Amorós wrote in the conservative daily ABC.

But Rajoy's PP, which swept to power in November, is involved in a controversial reform of the broadcaster and is accused of removing senior journalists who are seen as too leftwing.

The section preventing children from watching live bullfights was removed from its code of conduct earlier this year. “Management has acted accordingly,” a senior TVE source said.

TVE had not banned bullfighting completely, and continued to cover it on late night television and radio programmes devoted exclusively to what fans consider to be an art form – newspapers cover it in their arts pages.

Regular live broadcasts of the major bullfighting festivals from Madrid, Seville and elsewhere stopped in 2006, after TVE was priced out of the market by private broadcasters.

bullfighter“Now the bullfighting lobby seems prepared to do anything in order to bring live fights back to our public television channel, even if that means trampling over European Union television rules,” the Animalist party, which lobbies against bullfighting, said. TVE sources denied that any such rules were being broken.

Anti-bullfighting supporters are also raising the issue that ‘Spain’s National Art’ has been exempted from the IVA/VAT increase which comes into effect this Saturday, 1st September 2012. The IVA paid on other cultural tickets sees IVA rise from 8 percent to 21 percent. For Bullfighting it stays at the lower rate.

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