22 September 2008

Spanish Daily El Pais and its coverage of Latin America

I had been wondering for some time why the Spanish daily El País, was so pro-Uribe and so intent on the demonisation of Chavez, Morales, Correa, etc.

But, back in June, I was doing some research for a letter I was writing to the editors * of said newspaper, when I came across the following information:

El Pais forms part of PRISA (Promotora de Informaciones SA), a large Spanish media and publishing conglomerate ( this I already knew!). In Spain, El País is known as a daily newspaper with sympathies towards the Spanish socialist party, the PSOE, and so I had been a bit confused as to their repeated negative coverage of Chavez, Morlaes, Correa or any leftish leader in Latin America, and their positive coverage of Uribe. Yes, I know, very naive.

What I found out was that PRISA has for some time now had 'interests' in Colombia (they own Radio Caracol, and newspapers in Cali, Cartagena y Bucaramanga), and only last year they were pipped at the post in their attempts to buy El Tiempo, the most influential newspaper, with the highest circulation, in Colombia. This honour went to the Planeta Group, also Spanish, which owns A3TV, OndaCero radio station and La Razón daily newspaper, all with a right wing bias.

I also found out PRISA is one of several conglomerates bidding for the licence for the 3rd private TV channel in Colombia (the other big bidders are the Planeta Group and the partnership between the Venezuelan Cisneros Group and Colombian businessman Luis Carlos Sarmiento), which will be adjudicated in May 2009.

According to the Spanish daily El Público, edited by former PRISA man Ernesto Ekaizer, an Argentinian by birth, all the media conglomerates in Colombia are vehemently 'Uribista', so much so that they are called 'furibistas'. Indeed, Polanco, President of PRISA, seems to have a decent relationship with Uribe, as he was awarded the National Order of Merit by Uribe in June 2005, who emphasized the "contribution to the creation of more employment for Colombians" ("que contribuye a la generación de más empleo para los colombianos"). An interesting phrase considering that when PRISA bought Radio Caracol, it had a staff numbering about 1,500 and that in June 2005 the staff numbered about 450...

As the Comisión Nacional de Televisión (CNTV) is entirely controlled by furibistas too (Uribe named the members), one can assume with certainty that they will do his bidding, even though it is supposed to be an auction with the highest bid winning the pot.

Bu that's not all! Since 2000, when Business Week announced that PRISA wanted to "to Conquer the New World", it has engaged in a massive expansion throughout Latin America.

Of course, business is business, and this explains perfectly the editorial position with regard to Latin America in all PRISA's Spanish media which includes Cadena Ser, Cuatro TV station and the CNN+.

You may be asking, why mention all this now?

Well the reason is that I came across this tidbit on the excellent Inka Kola News blog:

"Meanwhile, it's not just the US that is fed total crap on Bolivia. It took numerous complaints from people who know better to get Spain's "El Pais" newspaper (that believes itself to be the journal of record in Spain, but is woefully poor compared to even the NYT) to change this caption....

....to the corrected caption now shown here. For around three days, Spain was told that the racist, fascist scum depicted were actually supporters of Evo Morales (the caption translated saying "Party Members of the President of Bolivia, Evo Morales"). I suppose this is why Abiding has been getting praise heaped upon his blog by all and sundry...he does this weird thing called "telling the truth" and also stuff like "fact checking". Semi OT: Note to Simon Romero; please check on both phrases before next opening your laptop."

Without all the other information mentioned above this could be seen as a simple mistake. Now I'm not so sure.

* NB: Alterzoom left out the links I sent with my letter. Here they are for what they're worth:

1) http://www.elpais.com/articulo/internacional/Colombia/asegura/FARC/planeaban/atentado/Madrid/elpepiint/20080529elpepiint_10/Tes
(5) Zapatero dice que está por confirmar la relación entre ETA y las FARC


Jose Chung said...

You want "positive" coverage of the fascist president-cum-dictator Hugo Chavez?

Only last week, he expelled two Human Rights Watch workers and banished them for life for writing that the people of Venezuela are losing their freedoms.

David Sketchley said...

Fascist? Oh dear me! Someone who has either no idea of the meaning of words or simply a shit-poor propagandist.

Dear José Chung. You should try and get all the facts befoe jumping to conclusions. You should look up HRW and its links to the NED..