One of the best ways to become integrated into Spain is to consume the local media. It can help with your Spanish, keep you up-to-date on local happenings and events – and give you something to talk about in the local bar!
It’s also pleasant to be able to read, listen to and watch media from your home country, or in your own language. You’re likely to be able to do that in Spain.
Press freedom in Spain
Spain has a reasonably good level of press freedom. It’s guaranteed in Section 20 of the Spanish Constitution and is generally respected.
However, the economic crisis has seriously affected the media in Spain (see below) and organisations like the Open Societies Foundation are becoming increasingly concerned about the state of the press.
Freedom House gave Spain the following scores in press freedom criteria:
Spain ranked 34th out of 180 countries in Reporters Without Borders World Press Freedom Index 2016. Not a terrible score but, as the organisation pointed out, this ranking has fallen from 33rd in 2015. Reporters Without Borders explained:
A new information law (known as the “transparency” law) that took effect in late 2014 does not treat access to information as a fundamental right, exempts certain kinds of government information (such as internal communications) and has created a monitoring entity whose independence is not guaranteed. The economic crisis has hit the media hard and has accentuated the already very marked concentration of ownership. No fewer than 354 media outlets closed and 11,875 journalists lost their jobs from 2008 to 2014.
A decline in diversity is usually bad news for freedom of press in any country. It can also have adverse effects on the quality of reporting, as the pool of competition shrinks and journalists are more afraid to ‘step out of line’ and risk losing their job.
National newspapers in Spain
Daily newspapers in Spain
- El Pais Spain’s best-selling newspaper. Leans towards liberal.
- El Mundo Spain second-largest newspaper and its largest digital newspaper. Centre-right views.
- ABC The third in the Spanish trifecta of ‘newspapers of record‘, ABC is a conservative newspaper with heavy coverage of art and culture.
- Boletín Oficial del Estado (BOE) The Spanish government’s official gazette, this paper publishes laws and official information from the Spanish authorities. This newspaper is not published on a Sunday.
Sports newspapers in Spain
- MARCA With a readership of over 2.5million, this football-heavy daily newspaper is one of the most popular publications in Spain.
- Diario AS Marca’s main competitor, with a readership of around 2.1million. Another football-focused paper, with the spotlight on Madrid’s football teams.
Financial newspapers in Spain
- Cinco Días Spain’s oldest business newspaper, Cinco Días is published Monday-Friday.
- Expansión A tabloid-format finance newspaper, with a section dedicated to Andalucia – and therefore plenty of news from the Costa del Sol.
- 20 Minutos A free, widely-circulated business newspaper.
Local Spanish newspapers
In addition to the national press, there is a strong local press: often available in several languages.
Costa del Sol
|Malaga||El Correo de Andalucía|
|Malaga||La Opinión de Málaga|
|Marbella||Marbella 24 Horas (Digital)|
National online news
- Costa News News for all of the Costas.
- Sur in English News for Southern Spain.
- Olive Press Expat news for Spain.
- Euro Weekly News News from all the expat-heavy areas of Spain.
- Café Crème A lifestyle and news magazine for francophones.
- Costa Nachrichten News for all of the Costas.
- Наша Испания (Our Spain) News about Spain for a Russian audience
- SK News, jobs and classified advertisements for the Costa del Sol
- Svenska Magasinet News, opinion and real estate for the Costa del Sol
Locally focused online news
Costa del sol
- i-Marbella Local and international news, event coverage and lifestyle content from Marbella, Sotogrande and other towns and villages in the Costa del Sol.
- Marbella News Costa del Sol news centering around Marbella
- Luk’s Marbella A group of bloggers keeping Russian expats up-to-date with events and information
Television in Spain
Terrestrial Digital Television
You’ll be pleased to know that you don’t need a television licence to watch TV in Spain.
Most people in Spain (around 98%) have access to Terrestrial Digital Television (TDT). It has around 35 channels – some produced by RDTVE, the state broadcaster, and some privately owned. It is comparable to Freeview in the UK in its scope.
TDT often broadcasts programmes from other countries, especially the US, but they may be dubbed in Spanish. To get around this, look through your TV menu – there should be an option to watch programmes in their original language. If you want to improve your Spanish, think about adding Spanish subtitles; or leaving the programme in Spanish and adding subtitles in your own language.
The most popular Spanish television channels
- La Uno State-owned channel, broadcasting programmes for a general audience.
- TeleCinco Entertainment shows, soap operas, sports etc.
- antena3 Films, drama and news.
Many expats on the Costa del Sol have satellite television, as it allows them access to programmes from other European countries.
If you choose to go down this route, you’ll probably have to install an ASTRA 2 satellite dish, which can be quite large – but once this is done, you won’t have to pay monthly fees. You can, however, choose to subscribe to packages from other countries (i.e. Sky from the UK).
Television on the internet
If installing a satellite dish is impractical, you may consider watching television through streaming services.
As well as the well-known options such as Netflix and Amazon Prime, you might want to look at websites like FilmOn.com, on which you can watch many programmes for free in Spain (legally!).
Radio in Spain
Spain’s national public radio broadcaster is called Radio Nacional de España (RNE). It controls several national radio stations:
- Radio Nacional ‘General’ broadcasting – mainly speech-based programmes.
- Radio 3 Popular music (pop and rock), targeted to a young audience.
- Radio 5 The news station. 24-hour broadcasting.
- Radio Clásica Classical music, with some coverage of concerts.
Radio stations for expats
Costa del Sol
English-language radio stations on the Costa del Sol
- Spectrum FM Music from the 70s onwards and celebrity guests.
- Central FM A mix of music (classic and new) and chat.
- Global Radio A variety of music, guests and chat.
German-language radio stations
- Radio del Sol Information on news, sports and society.
Russian-language radio stations
- Radio Smile Music from the 80s to today, along with entertainment programmes.
Have we missed out your favourite publication? Or would you like to share your opinion on the media in the Costa del Sol? Email us on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Consuming local media is a great way for an expat to get to grips with the Costa del Sol – and there’s plenty to choose from, even if a lot of it may not be quite to your taste.
There is also a lot of media targeted at expats and, in this shrinking world, it is never too difficult to view and listen to media from ‘back home’.