Paraguay: Media concentration causes serious damages to society

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Source: / The Dawn / October, 8, 2015

“It limits rights, justifies arbitrariness and hides atrocities” Paulo Lopez synthesizes after having participated in two international seminars in Peru. In Paraguay, media concentration has significantly increased as Grupo Cartes (Cartes Group) -which bought the media that belonged to Juan Carlos Wasmosy and Osvaldo Dominguez Dibb- entered the business. Police chronicles, sensationalist press, a constant demand of militarization, repression of social struggles and cutting of rights are daily expressions of the groups that control the information and entertainment in Paraguay and in several Latin American countries.

The same situation is found in Perú, says López. In that country, he participated in two international seminars about the exercise of professional activities, freedoms and rights, in representation of the Union of Journalists of Paraguay.  

Here is the interview with the Official Website of the Union of Journalists of Paraguay.

What similarities did you find between Paraguay and Peru, regarding the situation of the Media Concentration?

In Peru, the sector is dominated by the economic group El Comercio, which owns 80 percent of the media, according to the information presented in the seminars, meaning that the  media concentration context is very similar to the one in Paraguay. As I was reading El Comercio’s papers and watching its TV channels, I saw that its current agenda is the militarization of urban security with the alleged purpose of fighting crime.

I felt that society was very shocked by “insecurity issue”, and it’s something that should be problematized. Inequality and poverty are a real phenomenon, but I think that criminal acts are over-represented, as elsewhere, with police chronicles. Lima did not look like a threatening city. On the contrary, there is a citizenship that assumes the importance of occupying public space.

Thus heavy-handed speech emerges again and, indeed, for the presidential elections of 2016, the candidate that is shaping up more strongly is Keiko Fujimori, daughter of former President Alberto Fujimori, who was condemned and  imprisoned for crimes against Human Rights. If she wins, it’s likely that she will pardon his father and revalidate his authoritarian politic, at least that was the slogan in the last elections (2011) in which she lost against Ollanta Humala.

However, it seems as though she doesn’t want to remain too attached to the hardest sector of conservadurism, and so she has spoken in favor of therapeutic abortion and civil unions between the same sex, unleashing the fury of the most radical wing of Fujimori’s followers.


In this context, what role does the media play?

Despite what little I’ve seen, I think they’re bloodthirsty. In the protest against the presence of a mine in rural sectors, three people were killed in late September, and what the media transmitted was a message and a feeling that the government was not responding with the necessary strength to finish the rebels. Next, they broadcast news about bringing the militaries into the streets.

In Paraguay we are aware of what the use of Militar Service in internal security has led us to. That climate was encouraged precisely by the concentrated media. It limits rights, justifies arbitrariness, and hides atrocities. Why is the Cartes group buying so many media? This would constitute one of the many keys.

How do you think that the continent can advance in coordinated action to deal with these situations?

I prefer to emphasize the most humane and simple things, and therefore the more important ones. The treatment and horizontal dialogue that we have had in general in the seminars reassures me that the project of the “Patria Grande”  (Great Homeland) is not only possible, but necessary. The practice and ideology of colonial intervention that governs our relationships, often reinforces particularism and leads to the temptation of nationalism.

There are unity movements that have nice speeches, but there are filled with an hegemonic and imperial will. In these terms there is no integration. Or maybe there is, but from a logic of integration subordinated to markets. Local elites play a divisive game raising false contradictions about whether the model of integration is better done through the Mercosur, the Pacific Alliance or the signing of free trade agreements with the European Union and the United States. Integration belongs to the people, it will not be carried out by the bureaucrats nor the merchants.


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