Building up on a previous involvement in topics and initiatives concerning minority language media (MLM), the ECMI has recently increased its role in this field, both through a rejuvenated research focus but also from an organisational perspective. ECMI Politics and Civil Society Cluster researchers Dr. Sergiusz Bober and Craig Willis have joined the recently established International Association for Minority Language Media Research (IAMLMR), connecting them with scholars and practitioners across Europe and beyond. In this role, they will be co-organising a forthcoming academic conference in October 2021 to be hosted by the ECMI.

The particular research foci include: the media of the local minorities in the Danish-German border region, most prominently represented by Der Nordschleswiger and Flensborg Avis newspapers; the public service broadcasters of the British Isles and their socio-economic impact in terms of regional development in minority language-speaking areas; the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on MLM contexts across Europe. Within this, the ECMI researchers intend to be present at the International Conference on Minority Languages XVIII in Bilbao, March 2021.

As part of these activities, the Cluster has been working on a series of interview blogposts with prominent scholars and practitioners in the field, focusing on the influence of COVID-19 pandemic on particular MLM.

Minority language media and the COVID-19 pandemic - a series of interviews

The COVID-19 pandemic has obviously affected every single aspect of daily life across Europe and beyond, including in minority contexts. The purpose of this interview series is to provide a comparative overview of how minority language media has been affected and has covered the pandemic in different minority linguistic situations. The series focuses on one minority language setting for each interview, utilising both scholars and practitioners (oftentimes two roles held by one person) to provide a comprehensive overview of what has occurred to date and how the future is envisaged. Whilst we use the term interview, we would like to state that the quality and work put into the posts by the interviewees is extensive and backed-up with relevant links and academic references. The editorial work and concept of the series is undertaken by Dr. Sergiusz Bober and Craig Willis of the ECMI.

This is an ongoing series with further interviews to be posted regularly through the summer and into autumn 2020

The list of published interviews

The case of Welsh: an interview with Prof. Elin Haf Gruffydd Jones (published on 8 July 2020)

The case of German and Ladin in South Tyrol: an interview with Marc Rüggla (published on 15 July 2020)

The case of Basque in Spain: an interview with Dr. Miren Manias-Muñoz (published on 23 July 2020)

The case of Irish: an interview with Dr. John Walsh (published on 30 July 2020)

The case of Catalan in Spain: an interview with Prof. Aida Martori Muntsant (published on 5 August 2020)

The case of German in Denmark: an interview with Gwyn Nissen (published on 20 August 2020)

The case of Swedish in Finland: an interview with Dr. Jenny Stenberg-Sirén (published on 26 August 2020)

The case of Frisian in the Netherlands: an interview with Onno Falkena (published on 17 September 2020)



Minority language media and the COVID-19 pandemic – the case of Frisian in the Netherlands: An Interview with Onno Falkena.

Returning to a non-kin state setting for our eighth interview in the ongoing series, Onno Falkena details the case of Frisian in the Netherlands. A seasoned journalist for regional public broadcaster Omrop Fryslân in the province of Fryslân / Friesland, Onno is well-positioned to provide first-hand experience of the situation during the lockdown months earlier this year.

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Minority language media and the COVID-19 pandemic – the case of Swedish in Finland: An Interview with Dr. Jenny Stenberg-Sirén.

The seventh interview in our ongoing series sees Dr. Jenny Stenberg-Sirén detailing the case of Swedish in Finland. With vast experience as an academic and a journalist, Dr. Stenberg-Sirén is able to provide an extensive analysis of the Swedish language media in Finland, which includes national public TV and radio, as well as a large array of daily newspapers.

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Minority language media and the COVID-19 pandemic – the case of German in Denmark. An interview with Gwyn Nissen

The German minority in Denmark is the focus of the sixth post in our ongoing expert interview series on minority language media and the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Chief Editor of Der Nordschleswiger, Gwyn Nissen, gives us an insightful overview of the situation for the German minority’s daily newspaper and its online news site, and the mixed effects the pandemic has had and is having. 

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Minority language media and the COVID-19 pandemic – the case of Catalan in Spain. An interview with Prof. Dr. Aida Martori Muntsant.

Our fifth interview on minority language media (MLM) during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic focuses again on a case in Spain, with Prof. Dr. Aida Martori Muntsant (Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona) discussing the situation of Catalan language media in Catalonia. An MLM sphere with a substantial array of institutions including many local TV and radio stations as well as and print and online newspapers, the situation for Catalan media was nonetheless greatly affected by the pandemic. 

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Minority language media and the COVID-19 pandemic – the case of Irish. An interview with Dr. John Walsh.

We return to the Celtic linguistic sphere for our fourth post on the situation of minority language media (MLM) during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Dr. John Walsh, Senior Lecturer in Irish at the National University of Ireland in Galway, details the case of Irish language media on the island of Ireland. Dr. Walsh begins by comprehensively outlining the various TV, radio, print and social media which operate in the Irish language, as well as a brief history of their development.  

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Minority language media and the COVID-19 pandemic – the case of Basque in Spain. An interview with Dr. Miren Manias-Muñoz.

In the third interview of the new series discussing the situation of minority language media (MLM) during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Dr. Miren Manias-Muñoz (University of the Basque Country) presents the case of MLM in Basque Country and Navarre. Spain has been particularly harshly affected by the pandemic, with its repercussions spilling over to MLM outlets as well. Production of radio and television content was halted, programmes well-liked by the audience were cancelled, while newspapers’ economic situation worsened even with readership increasing. Besides this, broader trends concerning broadcasters’ and local / regional authorities’ priorities further complicate the picture. 

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Minority language media and the COVID-19 pandemic – the case of German and Ladin in South Tyrol. An interview with Marc Röggla.

In the second interview of our new series focused on minority language media during the COVID-19 pandemic, Marc Röggla (EURAC Research / Midas), discusses the case of German and Ladin language media in the Autonomous Province of Bolzano, South Tyrol in Italy. Officially trilingual, there are an array of media institutions producing content through different mediums, yet, as Marc explains, despite a general increase in media consumption during the recent crisis there has been a significant drop in revenues due to reduced advertising income. Marc outlines the implications of this trend for the broader MLM landscape in Europe as well, from his unique perspective as a scholar and practitioner.

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Minority language media and the COVID-19 pandemic – the case of Welsh. An interview with Prof. Elin Haf Gruffydd Jones.

In the first of a new series of expert interviews in the field of minority language media across Europe, Prof. Elin Haf Gruffydd Jones of the University of Wales Trinity Saint David provides an in-depth overview of Welsh media during the COVID-19 pandemic. As she explains, Welsh language media organizations have acted quickly during COVID-19 to inform and connect communities across Wales. New conversations, content and groups have been created on social media in Welsh too. But faced with the impending economic downturn, exacerbated by Brexit, there are challenging times ahead for the sector.

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