Chomsky and Pilger Back teleSUR Against Macri’s Attack in Argentina
MEDIA, 11 Apr 2016
A growing global petition wants to stop Argentina’s right-wing government from muzzling teleSUR and other alternative press in the country.
8 Apr 2016 – Dozens of journalists, academics and activists – including Noam Chomsky, Danny Glover, John Pilger and Cindy Sheehan –have signed a petition against the government of Argentina’s Mauricio Macri and his attempts to close the teleSUR office in Argentina, effectively shutting down one of the only alternative voices in Argentina’s largely corporate media landscape.
Noam Chomsky told teleSUR Thursday he hopes that Macri’s government will soon reverse their decision.
“teleSUR has been a welcome entry into the generally conformist media landscape of Latin America, presenting viewpoints and information that contribute substantially to the development of a thriving democratic culture,” Chomsky said. “The decision of the Macri government to withdraw support for it is highly unfortunate, and I hope will be expeditiously reversed.”
The petition, which continues to accumulate signatures, says, “We see this action as a clear violation of freedom of expression, as it will deprive Argentines from receiving information distinct from what is promoted and disseminated by the hegemonic media outlets of said country.”
Members of the Network in Defense of Humanity, of which Danny Glover is a leading member, expressed their dissent to Argentina’s decision to “silence teleSUR.”
Joining with the principle that defends the concept of plurality, one of the 10 principles that govern the international platform of artists, intellectuals and social movements, members of the network in the United States condemned the attack to freedom of expression that this brutal action against Telesur in Argentina represents.
Last week, President Macri announced that Argentina will no longer be a stakeholder in the regional multi-state public broadcaster teleSUR.
He also said measures will be taken to remove the channel from the state-operated Open Digital Television service, which reaches around 80 percent of Argentines, ending the requirement that the country’s cable networks include the channel in their package.
A wide range of politicians, intellectuals and journalists across the region have already strongly spoken out against the new right-wing president’s decision to close teleSUR – a station which has always had a left-wing, anti-neoliberal editorial line.
— teleSUR English (@telesurenglish) March 28, 2016
teleSUR was launched in 2005 by former Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez as a means to offer a counter narrative to the regional and international mainstream media that are seen as promoting big business, neoliberal policies, and U.S. foreign policy.
The station is funded by the region’s left-wing governments of Bolivia, Cuba, Ecuador, Nicaragua, Uruguay, Venezuela and, until recently, Argentina.
“Thanks to teleSUR, the social struggles of the Argentine people and their suffering under harsh austerity policies have been made visible, as have other imperialist interventionist policies,” reads the petition, lamenting the loss of the station.
But pulling teleSUR’s funding is not the only assault Macri has launched against press freedom.
In his short time in office, President Macri has also overturned the Media Law, which was once created to stop commercial monopolies from forming and ensure diversity in the press. This also resulted in the layoffs of dozens of critical journalists.
He has also taken steps to censor radio and television programs that “don’t toe the government line” and “persecuted” local channels like C5N and CN23 “who are not aligned with the government,” reads the petition.
— Arnold August (@Arnold_August) April 1, 2016
The statement ended by calling on all supporters to join the fight for freedom of expression in the country, particularly for those struggles who do not have a voice in the mainstream media.
“We call on all the popular movements of our America, and the world, all the anti-neoliberal and democratic political sectors, the labor unions, intellectuals, journalists and communication professionals to join this fight in defense of the expression of the people and the reflection of their struggles,” say supporters via the petition.
Read the full petition here:
Our North will continue to be the South, we must defend freedom of expression and Latin American integration.
The CEO-cratic government of (Argentine President) Mauricio Macri announced, via the newspapers La Nacion, that Argentina will no longer be a stakeholder in teleSUR. This means that the multi-state agency and television channel will no longer be broadcast on the state-operated Open Digital Television service, which reaches around 80 percent of Argentines, nor will the country’s cable networks be required to include the channel in their packages.
We see this action as a clear violation of freedom of expression, as it will deprive Argentines from receiving information distinct from what is promoted and disseminated by the hegemonic media outlets of said country, which are fully aligned with the anti-popular and neoliberal policies of Argentine government, who in just over 100 days in power has launched a determined campaign that includes: the annulment of the Media Law, a platform that protects the plurality of voices in the media and prohibits media monopolies; the dismissal of dozens of free-thinking journalists; the censorship of radio and television programs which don’t toe the government line; and the persecution of channels like C5N and CN23, who are not aligned with the government.
In article 13 of the American Convention on Human Rights, the definition of freedom of expression and thought says it “includes freedom to seek, receive, and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, either orally, in writing, in print, in the form of art, or through any other medium of one’s choice.” Taking teleSUR off the Open Digital Television service violates this right of both the Argentine people and of Latin Americans more broadly, since, thanks to teleSUR, the social struggles of the Argentine people and their suffering under harsh austerity policies have been made visible, as have other imperialist interventionist policies.
It’s no coincidence that this announcement has been made a few days after the visit of North American President Barack Obama to Argentina, in apparent support of the Macri government, which is fast becoming the spearhead for imperialist encroachment in the region. That’s why taking teleSUR off state and private platforms is not an isolated policy of the Argentine government, but rather part of a continental strategy that seeks to isolate processes of change in the continent, as well making invisible the popular movements that confront neoliberal and anti-popular policies.
For this reason too, it is a fierce attack against the popular and independent vision of Latin American unity by the great hegemonic powers, who for decades and decades have promoted their version of events through news outlets that legitimized and defended the neocolonial order and dependency of the Latin American peoples.
The attack against teleSUR is an attack against the Patria Grande, the Great Homeland of Our America, and the dignity of the people who again are beginning to rise up to defend our common history and identity.
We at ALBA Social Movements are on alert in the face of this attack by right-wing governments to shut down the voice of the people and we strongly condemn the Argentine government’s decision to leave teleSUR as an act against the plurality of voices in Argentina and the continent.
We call on all the popular movements of our America, and the world, all the anti-neoliberal and democratic political sectors, the labor unions, intellectuals, journalists and communication professionals to join this fight in defense of the expression of the people and the reflection of their struggles.
Our North will continue to be the South!
Without teleSUR there is no freedom of expression!
John Pilger – writer, filmmaker
Noam Chomsky – writer, linguist, political analyst
Danny Glover – actor, activist
Cindy Sheehan – U.S. peace and justice activist
Abby Martin – journalist
Ezequiel Adamovsky – historiographer
David Swanson – author, activist, journalist, and radio host
Justin Podur – Toronto, Canada
Cindy Domingo – Seattle, WA
Gregory Wilpert – The Real News Network (Quito, Ecuador)
Arun Gupta – independent journalist, U.S.
Paul Street – journalist and author
Elly Leary – Naples, Florida U.S.
Victoria Cervantes – Chicago, Illinois
Angela Gilliam – Faculty Emerita, The Evergreen State College
Bill Fletcher, Jr. – talk show host, writer and activist
Daniel M Kovalik, Esq. – Pittsburgh, Pa
Patrick Bond – professor of Political Economy, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg
Dr. Jack Rasmus – economist, St. Marys College, California, and Host of Alternative Visions, Progressive Radio Network, U.S
Joe Emersberger – Windsor ON Canada
Dr. Ajamu Nangwaya – Seneca College, Canada
Soheil Asefi – Independent journalist, the New School for Social Research
Dilar Dirik – writer, journalist
Alessandra Bajec – writer, journalist
Kevin Edmonds – Univ
ersity of Toronto, Canadian Union of Public Employees.
Kim Katrin Milan Vincent Emanuelle
Peter Bohmer – faculty in Political Economy, the Evergreen state College
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