Saturday, May 16, 2009


The English word “jolly” means “alegre” in Spanish – happy or cheerful. Sadly there is nothing jolly in the life of many of the employees of the Grupo Joly newspaper empire right now.

On Friday evening there was a demonstration in support of the journalists at Europa Sur and other regional titles who face an uncertain future. Cuts are being made across all the titles with over 100 people so far affected.

The tactic of this media group seems to be economic death to its journalists by a thousand cuts – the old Chinese method of torture. A few professionals are booted out here, then a few there. It avoids the Grupo Joly having to comply with the Spanish labour laws of presenting an ERE redundancy agreement and thereby its economic accounts to justify the action to the Andalucía government.

I am led to believe that the titles within the Grupo Joly – Europa Sur, Diario de Cádiz, Málaga Hoy and so on - are each independent. Hence if one is profitable the company pockets that money and if another makes a loss then the journalists are let go to reduce the overhead. There is no subsiding of one title with another.

Curiously Grupo Joly has run advertisements showing how Europa Sur and Diario de Cádiz are the leading publications in this province by far – and yet their journalists live in fear of ending up on the streets. It also leaves those professionals who remain too scared to speak out in case they are suddenly shown the door as well. If there were mass sackings then there could be large scale union action but the family-run media group is too smart for that.

Of course this desperate situation not only exists within the Grupo Joly but in other newspaper operations in Spain, Britain, Ireland and beyond.

According to El Observador the Grupo Joly has benefitted the most along with Prisa from contracts handed out by the socialist Andalucía government. A contract of 213,912 euros was signed for the period from last September to December alone. Obviously PSOE is intent on protecting its friends in the media from the full impact of the financial crisis. Sadly such generosity does not extend to the working journalist.

You can check out the current situation for journalists in Britain, Ireland and Spain at these websites:

National Union of Journalist –


1 comment:

Lenox said...

Indeed - there's nothing like 'publicidad institucional' to keep the 'freedom of the press' in perspective.