Spanish Version of RT in Latin America, Telesur (opinion)

Posted on October 21, 2014 • Filed under: Latin America News, Social Issues

By FABIÁN BOSOER and FEDERICO FINCHELSTEIN/ The Spanish version of RT is intended as an antidote to the toxic influence of foreign media channels “that transmit news based on their interests,” as Mrs. Kirchner put it. The Spanish-language RT deal mirrors the Venezuelan-Argentine venture in the public news channel Telesur, in which Cuba, Nicaragua, Bolivia, Ecuador and Uruguay also have minority stakes. Like Telesur, RT is presented not merely as an option in a pluralistic media landscape, but as the channel representing the true national cultures of each country in which it broadcasts.

From Ecuador to Venezuela, the conflation of state media, private media ownership by politicians and their cronies and party propaganda has been a prominent aspect of Latin American populism during its first decade of ascendancy. As the recent re-election of President Evo Morales in Bolivia shows, these populist leaders continue to enjoy broad support. But in Bolivia, as elsewhere in Latin America, these leaders have also manufactured their support by co-opting the power of state media and by marginalizing more critical elements of the independent media.

In Argentina, Venezuela and Ecuador, the typical strategy is to use antitrust laws to force commercial media groups to break up and sell off assets, which are then acquired by pro-government investors. For example, just days before Argentina’s deal with RT became public, the government agency assigned to enforce the country’s new media law announced that it would seek to dismember the audiovisual arm of the Clarín media group (which also publishes Argentina’s principal newspaper of the same name, where one of us works as a journalist). Read Article

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