Col·lectiu Emma - Explaining Catalonia

Monday, 29 june 2009 | Daily Telegraph


A Public Reply to The Daily Telegraph


Your story "Catalonia pays homage to the EU, not Spain, as push for independence grows” does a good job of explaining the increasing support for independence in Catalonia. We feel, however, that the accompanying photo is somewhat misleading.

Your picture shows three hooded individuals, faces covered, burning Spanish and French flags. For what it's worth, we would like to point out that burning a Spanish flag in Catalonia is a serious offence (interestingly, burning a Catalan flag is not). This may explain why the people in your photo chose to hide their faces. Although we do not advocate burning flags, as defendants of free speech we strongly feel that burning a flag (Spain's, Catalonia's or, for that matter, any other country’s) should not be an unlawful act.

However, our main concern is that your readers may associate your photo with typical pro-independence supporters. While it is true that some far-left fringe groups support independence, the Catalan separatist movement now enjoys widespread support among the Catalan society, even in traditionally conservative circles. Some examples are Cercle Català de Negocis (, a business lobby working for independence within the corporate world; Sobirania i Justícia (, a new pro-independence group led by a former conservative Catalan minister and composed with a large number of former Catalan ministers and high-rank public servants; or Reagrupament (, an emerging, all-embracing separatist party. If your readers need more information about the profile of independence supporters in Catalonia, perhaps they could visit the website of Cercle d'Estudis Sobiranistes (, a separatist think-tank. In a recent study they found, for example, that pro-independence supporters are essentially middle-class (70%) and better educated than unionists (17% of them have a University degree or higher). Further details are available here.

Your story is bang on: pro-independence support is growing in Catalonia, even among conservative groups. Unfortunately, your photo misses the big picture.

Col·lectiu Emma is a network of Catalan professionals living in different countries who have made it their job to try and set the record straight on news items published in the international press relating to different aspects of the Catalan economy and society.

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Col·lectiu Emma - Explaining Catalonia

Col·lectiu Emma is a network of Catalans and non-Catalans living in different countries who have made it their job to track and review news reports about Catalonia in the international media. Our goal is to ensure that the world's public opinion gets a fair picture of the country's reality today and in history.

We aim to be recognized as a trustworthy source of information and ideas about Catalonia from a Catalan point of view.
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Col·lectiu Emma - Explaining Catalonia