The Congress of Deputies makes it possible for citizens to witness parliamentary activity, both with regards to plenaries and Committees, as well as to institutional events and other activities organized by the Chamber, thus guaranteeing the right to information and promoting involvement in public affairs.
Parliamentary Channel, which broadcasts in the main satellite and cable platforms; Congress Live and the Audiovisual Archive, that can be accessed by Internet and the portal of the Congress of Deputies; and the official signal freely distributed to the rest of TV channels, are some of the means that the Chamber has to make its activities known.
With a view to publicizing parliamentary activity by audiovisual means, in 1993 the Congress of Deputies set up remote control cameras in the Hemicycle in order to record and broadcast plenary sittings. The same system was set up in 1998 in Committee meeting rooms.
Since then, the Congress provides official signal of the Plenary and Committee meetings, as well as of other events held in the Lower Chamber and offers and distributes it, with professional quality, to the booths that TV channels have in the press area, as well as being aired by the closed circuit TV to all parliamentary premises.
All images are conveyed to the Hub Centre in Torrespaña for their subsequent distribution to TV channels, whether national or foreign, interested in receiving information on the Congress of Deputies as well as to institutions pertaining to the State Administration, political parties, media, or any entity or body requesting it.
The TV Control of the Congress of Deputies, placed in one of the buildings pertaining to the Chamber, is entrusted with producing the official signal of the activities conducted there. The continuity control of the Parliamentary Channel is found in the same room.
The Parliamentary Channel went on the air for the first time on April 5, 2000, broadcasting the constituent sitting of the VII Legislative Term.
Just as other countries’ parliamentary channels, Parliamentary Channel aims to be a tool of democracy at the service of citizens, so that they can get to know first-hand the work conducted by their representatives.
In short, the goal is to bring Parliament closer to citizens, promote their involvement in public affairs and favor a closer and more fluent relation with representative institutions.
For Parliamentary Channel to fulfil this task, it must have a large distribution network so that the signal can reach the greatest number of persons.
Parliamentary Channel currently broadcasts free-to-air and with digital signal by Hispasat satellite 30W (Frequency 10.890, Vertical Polarity, Transponder (Txp) 143, Symbol Rate 27.500, FEC ¾.)
The Congress website is another essential tool which provides users with greater information on the programming and contents of Parliamentary Channel, whose signal is distributed by VODAFONE TV operator (channel 211)
Programming of Parliamentary Channel
The programming of Parliamentary Channel deals mainly with broadcasting plenary sittings, which are always broadcast live and enjoy priority over any other event being held in the Congress of Deputies.
Committee sittings are broadcast, either live or pre-recorded, according to relevance criteria, and depending on the hearings held before the said bodies, or the initiatives to be considered by them, which may be legislative or non-legislative.
Apart from parliamentary activity as such, Parliamentary Channel also broadcasts other activities held in the Chamber, such as visits or institutional events, seminars or presentations organized by the Congress of Deputies.
On the other hand, Parliamentary Channel produces its own contents, which can be broadcast when there is no parliamentary activity. Currently, short or continuity announcements are aired, as well as news reports covering several matters.
Live Congress and Audiovisual Archive
The website of the Congress of Deputies is another tool made available to citizens by the Chamber to guarantee the publicity of its work and to bring people closer to public institutions.
To this end, apart from providing details on the programming and broadcasts of Parliamentary Channel, www.congreso.es offers access, live or pre-recorded, to the Plenary and Committee sittings, as well as to other special events, institutional visits and seminars, courses or other activities organized by the Chamber.
Links to the Congress Live and to the Audiovisual Archive provide access to these telecasts.
Congress Live provides access to Plenary broadcasts, which enjoy priority over any other event being held in the Chamber, and to those Committees selected to be broadcast live, up to a total of five.
Both sittings or events broadcast live and those which were not aired when they were being held, can be viewed later pre-recorded, both in Congress Live when it comes to sittings held during the previous week, or through the Audiovisual Archive.
The Audiovisual Archive stores Plenary and Committee sittings, as well as other special events, such as the celebration of the Day of the Constitution each December 6, or the Open Doors Days and institutional visits.
In order to provide access to contents, the Congress of Deputies offers a double search system, by date or by body, thanks to which sittings and activities archived in the search history of broadcasts can be found more swiftly, since June 2007.