Bullfighting on TV ‘not recommended for youngsters under twelve’?

by Lorraine Williamson
bullfighting controls for minors

The Spanish political parties Podemos, ERC, Bildu, Junts, PDeCAT, Más País, Compromís, BNG, CUP, and Nueva Canarias want the mistreatment or killing of animals, and in particular, bullfighting, to be considered ‘harmful content’ for minors. 

The parties have submitted an amendment to the General Law on Audiovisual Communication. This is described in an amendment that was seen by the Spanish news site Europa Press.  

The political groups concerned propose adding a 7th paragraph to article 97. This refers to ‘content that is harmful to the physical, mental or moral development of minors’ and prohibits, among other things, the broadcasting of programmes or audiovisual content that contain scenes of senseless violence or pornography.   

Harmful content 

The proposal for paragraph 7 would read; ‘For the purposes of this Article, repetitions, previews, announcements, summaries or the promotion of shows in which animals are mistreated or killed are considered harmful content’. 

In the current legal text, the groups signing the amendment state the following; ‘the absence of protection against exposure to the violence of bullfighting is remarkable’. Furthermore, this shortcoming justifies the amendment, they argue. 

Cogesa Expats

United Nations already issued advice in 2018 

The United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child has already recommended banning the participation of persons under 18 as bullfighters and as spectators. This was detailed in a report in Spain dated 2 February 2018,

The protection of minors is a government competence under the Audiovisual Communications Law. Therefore, the parties consider it ‘essential’ to use this law to ‘prevent’ the broadcast of the bullfights. Furthermore, this would be done through article 97 of the law. 

Possible warning systems 

This article stipulates in particular that all providers of linear, open and conditional access to audiovisual television communication services must, and shall upon request, ‘provide users with sufficient and unambiguous information on the potentially harmful nature of the physical, mental or moral character of minors in audiovisual programmes. This can be done, for example, by use of a content description system, an audio warning or a visual symbol’. 

Specified times 

Moreover, it requires the provider to have parental control mechanisms or digital encryption systems for potentially harmful content for minors. Between 7.30 am and 9.00 am and between 5.00 pm and 8.00 pm on working days, no programmes with the age rating ‘Not recommended for children under 12’ will be broadcast. Whereas on Saturdays and Sundays and public holidays, this applies between 7.30 am and 12.00 pm. 


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