Mexican Journalist Fired by Radio Station
A Mexican radio station has fired journalist Carmen Aristegui, whose investigative team broke an alleged conflict of interest story involving the acquisition of a mansion by the wife of the country’s president.
The World’s Smallest Violin plays for Vox:
The Vox people are bemoaning this:
This week’s issue of the Economist reduces the vast diversity of Hispanic Americans to a single fruit: chili peppers.
The administration’s flagrant violations of the Constitution, the push to favor illegal aliens over anyone who’s a legal immigrant (I can go on all day) don’t fire up Vox’s belly, but chili peppers do.
To which I say, “suck it up, buttercup.”
(h/t: Joshua Treviño)
As Venezuelans struggle with the world’s fastest inflation and the worst growth prospects outside Equatorial Guinea, Major Venezuelan newspaper to be sold
One of Venezuela’s oldest and most prestigious newspapers has been sold amid increasing government pressure on independent news media.
The editor in chief of Caracas-based El Universal, Elides Rojas, confirmed that a group of Spanish investors had bought the broadsheet from the family that has run the paper since it was founded 104 years ago.
While neutral reporting in Venezuela is hard to come by after 15 years of polarization over socialist rule, El Universal has stuck closer than most to the ideal of fact-based, investigative reporting amid a crackdown on media outlets that, like it, have been fiercely critical of the government.
As you may recall, last year Globovisión was sold to highly-placed chavistas (who own very pricey digs in Miami), after Guillermo Zuloaga, Globovisión’s majority owner, had to flee Venezuela in 2010, following Hugo Chavez’s constant threats against him and the station.
Caracas Chronicles describes the latest transaction as “HegemonCorp. [the private business sector of the communicational hegemony] gets El Universal“
The new head of El Universal would be Jesús “Chucho” Abreu Anselmi, brother of José Antonio Abreu, head of the National Orchestra System (better known as El Sistema).
The Spanish investors’ company, Epalisticia, is described as a “semi-clandestine enterprise” in this report.
Alek Boyd has more, much more on Epalisticia:
Spain’s €3,500 Epalisticia buys El Universal for €90 million
My latest at Da Tech Guy Blog, ‘Dude, this was like two years ago’ is about the former van driver, former National Security Advisor Tommy Vietor dude.
And yes, Ben Rhodes, Deputy National Security Adviser, is the brother of David Rhodes, the President of CBS News the man who fired Sharon Attkisson. Attkisson was the only mainstream reporter to pursue Benghazi, asserting there was a coverup (h/t Monica Showalter).
Impunity for attacks on the press can be attributed in large part to a combination of state and local authorities’ ineptitude and their involvement with or fear of organized crime groups. Federal authorities are not fully trusted by journalists either, though federal prosecutors can claim more professionalism and distance from the corruption and threats that impede subnational officials. Statutes that took effect in May implemented a 2012 constitutional reform empowering
the Office of the Federal Special Prosecutor for Crimes against Free Expression. Prior to the implementing regulations, the office had lacked the authority to assert jurisdiction over cases and had achieved just one conviction in six years. Despite the changes, Special Prosecutor Laura Borbolla was initially hesitant to claim jurisdiction without state officials’ approval. By August
her office had taken on only one homicide case, the 2008 murder of El Diario de Juárez police reporter Armando Rodríguez Carreón.
According to Human Rights Watch, another federal program, the Protection Mechanism for Journalists and Human Rights Defenders, was “seriously undermined by a lack of funds and political support at all levels of government.” Journalists and human rights defenders who sought risk assessment and protection measures faced long delays and inadequate safeguards. Some journalists do benefit from the program, such as Emilio Lugo, editor of the Agoraguerrero news website, who was relocated from Guerrero after his investigations and criticisms of state
authorities resulted in threats. Although there is no confirmed count of Mexican journalists in exile, tenuous security conditions have prompted several to leave the country. Verónica Basurto, an investigative television reporter in Mexico City, criticized the federal protection process as inadequate and fled to Europe after receiving multiple threats. Miguel Ángel López, whose
journalist father and brother were murdered in Veracruz in 2011, received asylum in the United States in June.
In our hemisphere, Mexico, Honduras, Cuba, Venezuela and Ecuador do not have a free press.
I’ve been looking at headlines like “Chavez’ legacy fades in Venezuela as crowds fill the streets”. Whoever came up with that one misses the point altogether: It is Hugo Chávez’s legacy that has brought people out on the streets. As I have explained before,
The protests accompany inflation officially at 56% (but likely much, much higher); the third-highest murder rate of any country in the world; and, according to an official index, scarce supplies of one out of four staple items needed in every home, such as cooking oil, corn flour, and toilet paper.
Nationalization and expropriation of private businesses, price controls, huge corruption, government printing money to finance itself (including having to pay bond yields higher than all 55 emerging markets tracked by Bloomberg) are all part and parcel of a ruined economy. The scarce benefits that may have accrued under Chavez are being eaten away fast by the crisis.
One of the causes for the rampant criminality is due to the multiple times when, urging his “Bolivarian Revolution,” Hugo Chavez encouraged the poor to steal while he created a favored class, instead of directing his regime towards the rule of law. Chavez armed gangs that repressed opposition demonstrations (and, make no mistake, they’re on the attack now). He named to his cabinet men who were designated as “Tier II Kingpins” by the U.S. Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control. To worsen things, as part of his “war of all the peoples”, Chavez forged close ties with Iran and Hezbollah.
Add to how socialism has destroyed Venezuela, the regime’s suppression of the media
Daniel Duquenal put it more succinctly:
The protests come from people who realize that their future has been robbed by a narco-kleptocracy. Almost anyone in Venezuela that has aspirations to a better future through education, hard work, you name it, questions more or less actively the regime.
Well, what the hell else do you expect, when the “big shoes” beat the country’s path to ruin?
Then there’s the outright dishonesty of some reports: Does this look like 5,000 people to you?
— El Nacional (@ElNacionalWeb) February 19, 2014
It did to AP’s Venezuela Bureau Chief Joshua Goodman. Alek Boyd takes Goodman to the woodshed over Misreporting Venezuela. Not that Goodman is alone. Why do they do it? (emphasis added)
In the opinion of Goodman et al, what we have here is a government supported by brown-skinned, poor, disenfranchised people trying to survive a wave of violence, unleashed by radical, conservative, educated middle classes, bent on wresting control through undemocratic means, to then surrender sovereignty to U.S. interests. Never mind the brutality, torture, and assassinations of innocent, and unarmed, students and civilians. Never mind the excessive use of military force to placate peaceful demonstrations. Never mind the presence of a de facto Cuban occupation army. Never mind the fact that chavismo has never won overall control of student and authorities bodies of Venezuelan universities, where voting is still done manually.
Chavismo needs / must advance this notion of it being democratic. Since parts of its discourse marries well with widespread anti Americanism, the BBC, Goodman et al do a fantastic job at misinforming the uninformed and the ignorant. Not only do they misrepresent the crisis, they also misrepresent the parties. No word would be read from this lot on how the “moderate” wing is supported by utterly corrupt chavista bankers and political operatives that are, in no small part, responsible for the current situation.
The “moderate” wing, by the way, that some refer to as the “official opposition”.
Boyd’s essay points to the importance of social media when the MSM abdicates its duty to present facts:
However, no amount of manipulated subjectivity passing as objective journalism can win the day against social media. While the reach of BBC and AP is, most certainly, global, it pales next to that of Twitter and Facebook, where the Venezuelan crisis is being reported in real time, unedited, by hundreds of thousands of citizen reporters armed with smartphones.
Go read the whole thing.
And while you’re at it, get rid of those “big shoes” of Chávez “reporters” are trying to throw at you.
A YEAR INTO MADURO REIGN, MORE PROTESTS AND AN OSCARS CRACKDOWN IN VENEZUELA
Grupo Clarín, known for its criticism of kirchnerismo and Cristina Fernandez, will likely have to sell its profitable cable-TV and Internet businesses:
Argentine Court Clears Media Breakup
Argentina’s Supreme Court on Tuesday upheld a law that could allow the government to dismantle Grupo Clarin SA, the country’s largest media company.
The decision caps a four-year battle against Clarín by Mrs. Kirchner, who has made dismantling the media giant a top priority of her administration. Relations between both sides began to fray shortly after she took office in 2007. The newspaper was critical of her handling of a farmers strike in 2008.
The following year, she stripped Clarín of lucrative soccer-broadcasting rights and later seized control of a newsprint maker in which Clarín is a shareholder. Her administration also filed criminal charges against executives from Clarín and competing newspaper La Nación, accusing them of colluding with Argentina’s 1976-83 dictatorship to obtain control of the newsprint company. Clarín and La Nación denied the allegations and called them an effort to silence critical voices.
In one particularly bitter episode, Mrs. Kirchner’s government and human-rights groups teamed up against Clarín’s owner, Ernestina Herrera de Noble, and accused her of adopting children who may have been stolen during the 1970s dictatorship. DNA tests later confirmed that the children, Marcela and Felipe, couldn’t be tied to a database of people that had been “disappeared” during the dictatorship. The government never apologized.
This year, Mrs. Kirchner compared the media to military coup-mongers, saying journalists fire “ink bullets” in their bid to overthrow governments and pursue their own vested special interests. Some of her government’s top officials stormed Clarín’s annual shareholder meeting in April to heckle company officials. Mrs. Kirchner once acknowledged using the federal tax agency to investigate a critic of hers that had been quoted in Clarín.
“It’s a blood vendetta,” said Riordan Roett, professor of Latin American politics at Johns Hopkins University. “Both Kirchners, dead or alive, were and are very thin-skinned.”
Mrs. Kirchner’s husband and predecessor, Néstor Kirchner, died in 2010.
The decision could mark a turning point in freedom of expression in Argentina. Clarín has long said that income from cable and Internet businesses allows it to maintain its editorial independence by giving it the financial security to withstand the loss of advertising from hard-hitting articles against business or government leaders.
Interestingly, the Court made its decision after Sunday’s election:
The legal victory for the government comes only two days afterPresident Fernández’s administration took a beating in Sunday’s mid-term legislative elections, raising the spectre of a “lame duck” presidency for the ailing Fernández until the next presidential elections in 2015.
Supreme Court judge Eugenio Zaffaroni claims it was “so it wouldn’t look like they were trying to influence the outcome.”
Zaffaroni also stated that the law will be carried out (i.e., Clarín will have to sell its cable-TV and Internet businesses) regardless of whether the company appeals.
Gleen Garvin in today’s Miami Herald: Julian Assange and Ecuador’s strangled press.
While the movie starring a bleached Benedict Cumberbatch is coming out next month and the real-life Assange is stuck in the Ecuadorian embassy in London, the fact is that if he gets political asylum in Ecuador, he’ll most likely end up in jail:
Aside from the Castro brothers, there’s nobody in the Western Hemisphere who’s trying harder to do away with freedom of the press than Assange’s putative champion, Ecuador’s rambunctiously left-wing president Rafael Correa. In June, Correa pushed through a law establishing the crime of “media lynching,” defined as the “dissemination of information” with “the purpose of discrediting” someone. If Richard Nixon had access to a law like that, maybe Woodward and Bernstein would have won a second Pulitzer for their prison diaries.
You’d think even the most hyperactive despot would rest on his laurels for a while after passing a masterpiece like the media-lynching law, but for all the criticism of Correa, nobody has ever attacked his work ethic. Earlier this month, his chief legal advisor asked the legislature to let the government start jailing people for wisecracks on Facebook, Twitter and other social media.
If Assange thinks he has it bad now . . .