The Church awarded TRECE TV six million in 2021 despite its 2% audience share

The Catholic Church achieved a record surplus of 38.8 million euros in 2021 thanks to state funds collected via personal income tax. According to the annual report of the activities of the Spanish Episcopal Conference (CEE) consulted by this medium, at least six million of said public money were destined to finance its television, TRECE TV.

Despite the fact that in other years the medium has received larger items -9 and even 11 million euros- it should be noted that it is a loss-making chain that, since its inception, accumulates million-dollar annual losses and whose share of the screen does not usually exceed 2%. In other words, a considerably low figure compared to the rest of the channels with national coverage. With all this, TRECE TV has received more than 42 million public euros in the last six registered years thanks to the Spanish Catholic Church.

Amount assigned to the Church through personal income taxEEC ANNUAL REPORTS

With this context, it is relevant to remember that the high amount of money that television receives from the EEC was already looked at with a magnifying glass by the Court of Auditors in 2020, when it stressed in a resolution against “the opacity of the financial data related to the Catholic institution” that this use of public funds could “attack free competition”.

In the draft of said audit report, it was also added that the surplus that the Church achieves thanks to the money obtained by the IRPF box is not provided for in any agreement, nor is there any State-Church pact on the destination that should be given to such earnings. A fact to consider if one takes into account that, counting from 2016, almost 35% of this surplus has gone to finance TRECE TV. Specifically, 42.3 million of the 122.59 million euros pocketed via surplus by the Catholic Church from that date until 2021.

This percentage was even higher before the collegiate body focused on the alleged lack of financial control of the institution. Until 2020, the bishops’ television received more than 50% of the aforementioned ‘excess’ funds. A remnant that, according to the Court of Accounts, considerably exceeds what it truly needs to “achieve its adequate economic support”.

More than 2 million losses

According to the annual accounts of 13 TV, SA, despite the important economic ‘boost’ from the EEC, in 2021 the channel ended the year with a negative result of more than 2.2 million euros. Some losses that are common since its creation. But what did television use public funds for?

In the balance sheet on the company’s management during 2021, the leadership of TRECE TV argues that they were able to “multiply their religious information with Iglesia al Día, a daily newscast, Monday through Friday, with news from the dioceses, the Episcopal Conference, the Vatican and the movements and entities of the Universal Church” and “reinforce entertainment” with classic and western cinema.

However, this argument, in figures, meant leaving a total of 18.6 million euros in operating expenses, of which 3.5 million corresponded to supplies, 4.8 million to personnel costs and 10.2 million – the highest number – to “others”.

Be that as it may, the media group of the Spanish Episcopal Conference, Ábside Media, justifies the existence and financing of TRECE TV with the fact that it “responds to the need for religious accompaniment and to cover the current situation and vitality of the Church.”

Source: HuffPost Spain for Athena2 by

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