In two South American countries these days, almost simultaneously, they are talking about the urgency of a Media law. “What happened?”, will ask those who went on vacation together with La Base and have not followed the videos that I have been taking on Fridays on the Youtube channel of Público. Those who have seen them will guess which two countries I am referring to. Of course, Argentina and Chile.
On September 1, the vice president of Argentina, Cristina Fernandez de Kirchnerwas the victim of a assassination attempt. We’ve all seen those videos where a gun is pointed at him inches from his face. A pistol loaded with 5 bullets, none of which, by sheer miracle, came out.
At first – we are literally talking about a few hours – there was a kind of initial impulse by the main Argentine media, to report in an aseptic way about the attack, limiting itself to the inverted pyramid: what happened, where and when. But then it was time to finally show the paw.
First, the balance in the media tipped in favor of anyone who sowed doubts about the attack, who insinuated like someone who does not want the thing that could have been a drill, because well, we are at a time when there is a open case against Cristina for which they ask her for 12 years in prison for allegedly leading an illicit association. So, it could have been a maneuver to divert attention.
Then they went on to add the word “alleged” when referring to the attack. Just like that, “alleged attack” after a gun was rubbed in his face. In the networks, the accounts close to the far-right Javier Milei, as well as the Javier Mileisuggested that the gun was not even real, but a water gun, making the hashtag a trending topic #water gun.
When this hoax fell by its own weight, as new details about the attacker and his accomplice came to light, there was no other choice but to say that the blame for the attack was, deep down, Cristina Kirchner herself for summoning vigils in support near your home, and going out to greet people out there. She is so self centered.
So now our followers can get an idea of why, suddenly, the idea of drafting an anti-hate bill came up in Congress. Because in reality in Argentina that law has been urgent for a long time.
There have been years and years and years of media violence against Cristina Kirchner personally and against her political project. If you, as a media outlet, as a journalist, put a microphone in front of characters who call to hire a hitman so that “that woman disappears”, in front of characters who call her “criminal” live without presenting any proof of it, they call her ” psychopath”, you as a journalist have part of the responsibility. You can not launch or lend yourself to spread hate messages and protect yourself in the right to freedom of expression. And when I say hate messages broadcast on television for years, I’m not exaggerating. The other day a compilation of some of the statements by journalists, political spokespersons, actors, protesters… went viral. I invite you to listen to it and think a bit about whether that deserves to be called “opinion journalism.”
Faced with this, it was raised, it was only raised, to consider that law against hate that could regulate this type of messages in the information media. What do you think has been the reaction to the proposal of media such as Clarion, The nation and company? Correct, announce from the headline that it is an initiative to limit the media and remember that there is a similar law in Venezuela, obviously.
Venezuela comes in very handy as a scarecrow for any situation: as they have approved it there, well, you no longer need to analyze anything else, reject it outright so we can continue with our own, with our freedom of expression to see if the lone wolves like Fernando Sabag multiply.
In Chile, the hashtag #LeyDeMediaYa for another reason (although deep down, it remains the same: media manipulation and lack of plurality).
After the rejection of the new constitution was imposed in the plebiscite a week ago, there has been a whole series of analyzes on the reasons for that result. Pablo has made one, by the way, look for it on his social networks.
Beyond the false news that has abounded throughout the campaign, which has made people believe that their houses would be taken away, that the flag would be changed or that there would be no more bottled water, beyond all this cocoa that they have achieved put a few in the head, is the lack of media plurality, the concentration of the conservative media that have determined the result of the plebiscite.
The Mercury, The Third, they did not need to invent fake news. They didn’t have their time “It’s very crude, but I’m going with it.” It was enough for them to give a platform only to the followers of rejection. Months of campaigning in the mainstream media in favor of rejecting the new constitution.
The proposals were not debated, it was not explained how the new Magna Carta would change the life of an ordinary Chilean. He focused on talking about the show business that rejected the project, on trivializing some specific proposals (such as the article on the rights of nature for which he presented himself to those who wrote it as a bunch of crazy hippies).
The group of Studies of the Open University of Recoleta presented an investigation in which he concluded that the overwhelming majority of headlines in the written media were in favor of the rejection option. They evaluated more than 1,500 articles that appeared in the mainstream media in the first two weeks of August, and well, they noted a “clear pro-rejection trend.”
And 200 times is the figure given by the newspaper itself Third, now, when the result is already on the table, and not weeks ago, when perhaps it could somehow influence it. So you see, the big media in Chile were not cut at all. They have walked the path marked by the Washington Post who dedicated months of his columnists to warn of the supposed disaster to which the new constitution would lead Chile, and a few hours before the plebiscite he published an editorial calling for the project to be rejected because it could jeopardize the free trade agreement with the US that the US needs to maintain to be able to access the enormous reserves that Chile has of lithium. As is, without covering.
In addition to this, according to the Center for Journalistic Investigation of Chile, have managed to identify at least 29 accounts on social networks (mainly Facebook and Instagram) that, over 5 months, invested some 116 million Chilean pesos (equivalent to about 128,000 dollars) in pro-rejection advertising. And that is where the fake news was given free rein, that is where all the lies about supposed risks for pension funds, housing, private schools, etc., etc. came from. Along the same lines, another investigation pointed out that the Twitter accounts in favor of rejection spread 20,000 times more messages than those of approval. And this is how, between the misleading advertising campaigns on networks, paid for by more conservative sectors, and an absolute imbalance in the correlation of media forces, the rejection won by a landslide.