Resumen Latinoamericano and the difficult task of defending freedom of speech in neoliberal Argentina. By Carlos Aznárez

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By: Carlos Aznarez / Source: Resumen Latinoamericano / The Dawn News / January 3, 2017

Photo Credit: Tech in Asia
Photo Credit: Tech in Asia

What do we mean when we say it’s necessary to defend freedom of expression and opinion in every nation? We refer to the need to have our information, our denounces and our points of view be heard and break through the deceiving wall of hegemonic discourse, and most of all, to give a voice to the victims of injustice in our country. We know that this task is disliked by those who hold the state power, and that us social communicators and alternative media journalists are nothing more than a nexus for those who don’t usually have the channels to express themselves. And we try to do that, no matter whom we disturb.

That’s precisely what we’re trying to defend every day in this Argentine under control of the right-wing, by defying the single-discourse policy. To confront the falsehoods of hegemonic media, which try to paint a picture that drastically differs from the day-to-day experience of rural and city workers, students, retired people, and poor people. To denounce those who “sweeten” the brutality of the system with headlines that turn the perpetrators into victims and the victims into suspects. To unveil those who repeatedly attack popular demonstrations and disqualify them for “creating traffic chaos” and don’t move a muscle when high officials talk about applying police repression protocols that resemble those of the dictatorship or the worst times of the 1990s bourgeois democracy.

On the other side, there’s those of us who think that journalism must be intimately linked to the struggles of our people, without minimizing our weaknesses but at the same time without hiding the reasons we have to confront power head-on.

This is about the exercising the job to inform in these circumstances, despite the difficulties and the risks we face. And right now, our media outlet, Resumen Latinoamericano is experiencing precisely how far the existing powers can go to stop us. On the night of December 31, the usual “unknown suspects” broke into our headquarters located in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and robbed all of our video and audio equipment and our hard drives which stored over 10 years of work. This left us with virtually no tools to continue making our TV and radio shows.

We won’t hide that this attack was a hard blow. Any of our colleagues knows how expensive it is to get the equipment we need to be up to date with the enormous challenge of doing alternative journalism. But that’s not all, and it’s not even the most important thing of all, because the equipment can be replaced with time and thanks to the huge solidarity of our dear people. What hurts the most is the fact that we’ve returned to these type of practices that were usual in darker times, that we thought were over.

Those who broke into our offices tried to disguise as a robbery what was in fact, plain and simply, an illegal entry and search. They were very scrupulous and clean. They didn’t attempt hide what they were there for, for they intended this to be a signal. They wanted to instill fear and discipline us, and anyone who paid attention to this message. They didn’t have to spell it out for it to be obvious. It was: “don’t fuck with the system”.

Together with other popular media outlet, Resumen Latinoamericano has been denouncing for a year that the neoliberal agenda of this government needs repression to work, and we also warned that one of their priorities is to get out of the way anyone that puts up resistance against their measures (the layoffs, the tax hikes, the repression). That’s why they persecute and imprison social leaders, and the province of Jujuy in particular has turned into a laboratory to test every method of dissuasion.

Given this state of affairs, it’s important to state that despite the attempt to silence us, Resumen Latinoamericano will continue on. We defend the right to express ourselves and emit our opinion on what’s going on, without any type of self-censoring, and with independence from the State and its derivatives. We’ll always stand besides those who suffer the devastating policies of capitalism, as we stand besides our brother and sisters that exercise this profession with passion and commitment, for the people. We’ll continue to honor the legacy of Argentine journalist Rodolfo Walsh, who died for his commitment to the truth, and we’ll always say that the biggest enemy of intelligence is self-censoring.

To those who tried to discipline us or get us out of the way, we reply, as we say in our radio show, with “more and more Resumen Latinoamericano”, broadcasting in times of institutional tyranny.

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