Source: Resumen Latinoamericano / Photo credit: Resumen Latinoamericano / The Dawn News / October 21, 2016.
Carlos Aznárez at the First Latin American Summit of Popular Media and Journalists in Struggle Against Disinformation: “There is an Informative Gap and we have to fill it, united”
Carlos Aznárez is a member of the People’s Front of Expression in Argentina, he has a vast experience in communitarian and alternative media in his country, including being a member of ANCLA, the Clandestine Agency of News that was established during the last Argentine military dictatorship. The People’s Front of Expression was created this year, and its goal is struggling against the disinformation created by mass media who work for the neoliberal economic system and to create a counter-offensive to the policies that Macri has promoted at the communicational level and which have meant a great setback in terms of communication media and freedom of expression.
“We need to shift from a defensive strategy to an offensive one. If we are plenty, we have the possibility of achieving it, we don’t need the big media”, Carlos Aznárez exhorted in the first day of the Latin American Summit Against Disinformation.
According to Carlos Aznárez, community media have a fundamental role in the fight against disinformation, and one of the key examples was the day in which “they kidnapped Chavez and the only media outlets that were truly informing on what was going on were community media. Networks were created, and Chavez himself acknowledged this back then. It didn’t come out of the blue, it was possible thanks to the fact that all these resources existed beforehand”.
Another important point he made in his presentation was the need to create the Communication Commune of the South, where the most important thing is the creation of the content that can be freely shared through other communication media: “this Southern community that we want to promote should be based on the concept of war against individualism: the idea of ‘my news’, ‘my media’, ‘my interview’ — we need to think at a bigger scale: our media, our information, our people, our world”.
Acting, together, against disinformation
With the presence of 60 journalist from Latin America, the Caribbean and the United States the first “Latin American Summit of Popular Media and Journalist on Struggle Against Disinformation” began in La Paz, Bolivia. The timing was highlighted by several speakers, since right now “our continent is suffering a brutal attack from the regional pro-imperialist right”.
The Summit was attended by representatives from Bolivia (Prensa Rural Seminare, Radio Cepa and Abya Yala TV station, and Kandire.Bo), from Argentina, (the People’s Front of Expression, the communication platform Resumen Latinoamericano and the La García Agency), from the U.S. (Democracy Now, IP News), from Ecuador (the ALER radio network), from Cuba (Prensa Latina), from Venezuela (the “A la Calle” Network Foundation), from Chile (Radio Comunitaria), from Mexico (El Gráfico Chiquitano), and from Peru (Wauki Prensa Popular, Radio Virtual and the Federation of journalists, Cielo Radio and the Union of Journalists).
The opening of the Summit, last Thursday afternoon, was led by Percy Salvador Ortíz from the Federation of Journalists from Peru, José Aramayo from the Prensa Rural Seminare (and one of the fundamental promoters of the meeting), Carlos Aznárez from the People’s Front of Expression and Resumen Latinoamericano (Argentina), Adrián Constaine from Democracy Now (U.S.), Hugo Ramirez from the ALER Network (Ecuador) and María Rosa Gutierrez from the Bolivian TV Station Abya Yala, who inaugurated the event with brief by heartfelt words.
Then the Master Healer of the Mystic Pachamama Community, in the Alto Piura region, Ecuador, performed an ancestral ceremony to bless the meeting and promote that actions of the those gathered there may turn into benefits for our peoples.
On the first day, communitarian feminist fighter Julieta Paredes gave a master class on de-patriarchalization explaining, in simple but strong words, what patriarchy means and its implications for women and for society in each country. She pointed out the need to fight in favour of anti-patriarchal language and said that communitarian and alternative media should pay attention to this matter. Then, she insisted that “men should do everything they can to become aware of what the struggle of women means”, to put themselves in their shoes and try to imagine what we are suffering and how we must resist to move forward together”.
After that, Carlos Aznárez referred to the experience of the People’s Front of Expression, which was recently created in Argentina by several journalists who fight against the campaign of disinformation and media terrorism that our people are suffering. He also talked about his media outlet, Resumen Latinoamericano, which has existed for 23 years, and urged everyone to generate alliances and information networks to fight against the hegemonic discourse. “Let’s end with this sea of isolated agencies we usually create, let’s socialize information, let’s stop thinking about exclusives and scoops (which is the terminology used by hegemonic media) and let’s forgo the ‘me’ and replace it for ‘us’”, he said. He also remembered Berta Caceres and all fighters killed due to their fight against multinational companies, and also the political prisoners who fill prisons in Latin America and the world.
Andres Constaine, from Democracy Now, also spoke about the need to remember the example of Berta Cáceres and confront the multinational and media offensive that is suffered by our people. Journalist Salvador Ortiz spoke about the difficult situation of Peru under the neoliberal and pro-imperialist government of Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, while Hugo Ramírez, from Ecuador, welcomed the initiative of creating a communication platform that serves to fight the reactionary media. The host, José Aramayo, talked about the importance of this meeting for “our Bolivian colleagues to join the efforts we make all over the continent, to unite and organize against misinformation”.