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Journalism and Politics, or why journalism is important in the world

My first fearless proposal will be to praise good journalists that leave their own political preferences to inform the truth without slant. The world needs that kind of journalism, free of extremist points of view, and full of acknowledgement for the good and the bad things that happen in pollitics and with politicians, without helping the one party of their preference. Hard task this one. I know journalists are people with strong political points of view.

I remember once being in a city that had been blocked in each and every street, with stones, objects of all kinds, by extremists of the left wing on their first steps towards pushing a government out of of power. Little did we know at that time the kind of conspiracy for violence the whole country had been internationally involved in. In the case of this city, the problem was about water. People who used to build wells in the city wanted to throw out the international company in charge of building the new water dam, as well as the one running the water cooperative in charge of home conections. There was a lot of money involved; the farmers and well builders were with the left wing and followed the strict rule: No mercy with the right, no mercy until their vile government would fall. We know that leftists all over the world think they won't get anything if they don't shed blood. We also know how the rightists are, they want to keep all the money for themselves, they don't pay people to go on riots, and they always live well while the rest of the grassroots people live in bad salaries of hunger. Easy to guess which party to go for.

The problem is that journalists in general, but one woman in special, were responsible for letting the grassroots people think it was better to be most violent, that way they would get the right kind of attention they deserved. Their reports were so 'real', they showed people suffering (blood), getting hurt (more blood), but most of all, they incited violence every time they spoke. They used to say things like: 'There is no turning back, people are fighting for their rights and will not let anyone pass even if this means blood is to be shed. They are right.Their petitions are fair, and won't let the government be on their way'. Then when the rioters went to the local government's offices to burn them down they said: 'These people are fighting for their rights only, they cannot be held accountable for the fires and the killings, they are good people fighting for their rights'. And the public opinion was slanted to think the rightist were evil and the leftists were angels. Angels that killed people and burned everybody else's dreams. Like my dreams at that time.

I was visiting the city because my husband had just accepted a new job there, and had a year old baby in my arms who needed milk. We needed to eat, but there was no food. I went to the markets, walking through the turmoil, but no one would sell (not invite or give) a glass of boiled water for my baby's milk, or food for us, because we were from outside the city. But they weren't giving anything to anyone really. When we walked in the streets people would yell at us and say 'go home, don't come out'. Little did they know that we did not have a home to go to yet. Just a room that my husband had rented but the landlady was so mean that wouldn't let us boil water inside.

And there was this journalist. She kept yelling WAR! WAR! She named the riot 'THE WATER WAR'. I always thought the 20 people who died there didn't have to die. But when she was reporting the riot, live, she said, 'People are fighting for their rights, people can get killed anytime and in fact they will, this is a fair protest, they won't let go until they get their rights recognized and throw multinational companies away'. These words made all the difference in the world. 15 people got killed right away, and five more died later. But she cannot be held accountable for inspiring the people to kill, she was just doing her job, and making headlines all over.

I will never know if she got paid from one of the sides. But the kind of pain the whole city went through, how we suffered by not being able to eat for days, how my little baby could not get milk, how many people were stranded in bus stations without anything to eat and sleeping in the cold, all the children going through the pain of having to watch their parents fight each other in the streets, and the general harassment, that kind of pain, dearest readers, has no price. It has not been paid well enough. The journalist doesn't know she has been bargained.

I am not the person to tell anyone if the right or the left wings of politics are good. That is something personal. As for me, I am not a politician. To be truthful I just started to write because I have hushed for too long. I am a citizen who has been in the middle of different war crisis in both South and Central America, and has suffered the personal lose of one sibling due to extremists riots in the country.The leftist say I am rich and I don't deserve to speak up because I only represent what should be erased: inequality. The rightists say I cannot talk because I have not been educated enough and I don't represent anyone, as I am a toy in the hands of the leftists, besides being poor.

I am tired of the left wingers thinking they have the right to impose their way through violence. I am tired of the rightists thinking they have the right to take away all the money, using violence if they can. And I am tired of journalists who don't see the importance of their work clearly enough and put their tongues to work for arousing violence. None of this is right.

Journalism is important because it creates new waves of public opinion in the world. This time, I want to assure them the right and the left are equally violent, and they should not help any of them. They should stand up for peace, by changing the tone of their dialogue to a non violent one. This will not sell so many newspapers, but their spirits will be in peace. The new wave of opinion that we must create is in favor of non violent behavior, to create and re-create it over and over again. Until we achieve the change we desperately need.

Comments

LauraB's picture

Journalism

Temple,

Speaking truth, not left or right. Don't you think fair and complete journalism is a rarity because it is complex- if you read a very thoughtful and complete publication of an event, it takes research, an understanding of the various sides, an impartial stance, and a driving creed to speak truth. What are the sources in Latin America that you trust and turn to?

I think you definitely have ventured out of the "hushed" voice stage into a very clear and articulate accounting of how
you view politics and journalism in Central and South America. I think your voice is very important on PulseWire and that you definitely should keep posting. I know writing is key to you- I'm confident by posting you'll continue to connect with your inner voice as you connect to us here.

Thanks for posting.

Laura

Temple's picture

Thanks for reading this

Dear Laura,

There is a new wave of thinking that we should all support: Responsible Government, Responsible Journalism. There is one Think Tank Institution, called Fundación Ecos in Mexico, whose President, Mauricio Rodas, was just today speaking in CNN en espanol about how they are devoted to rate governments' performance without the right or left political criteria. They have created the model of Responsible Government. You can see the note in http://www.cnn.com/video/?iref=videoglobal He states that there are issues that should be treated as critical, and therefore as exempt of political treatment. I think the same criteria can apply to Responsible Journalism. It is not telling the truth, but HOW you tell the truth what makes the difference. Bolivia, for example, is a typical example of how slanted journalism to the left has made miracles for Evo Morales, by creating an image of him being indigenous, for instance, when he really comes from a mixed race, as most Bolivians do. Ironically, the same media that helped throw out Sanchez de Lozada government to favor Morales, is now being harassed by Morales. He realized he should have one marketing press only, and he funded more than 40 rural radio stations, closed the former state TV station and opened a new one with journalists of his party only, and has created one newspaper in each capital city. He does not give interviews to national reporters. He only calls to press conferences tailored for foreign press. His image as the first indigenous president has made us all think he actually is ( I was convinced he was), until a historian came out to clarify that Bolivia has had one indigenous president whose name was Andres de Santa Cruz y Calahumana, whose mother was a native indigenous woman, and whose administration had been one of the best in the history of Bolivia. This news, of course, were not amplified by any of the government media.

So, Responsible Journalism can follow the same line of Responsible Governments.

Responsible Journalism must then begin to be tailored by journalists all over the world so that we can create a set of criteria that we can apply to protect our families, communities and countries from slants that help create violence, and that can be used to also foster responsible performance attitudes in every journalist around the world. We need to do this, before the thirst of violence of people with lust for power and/or money becomes unquenchable.

There are ways to go, we just need to be creative.

Warm regards,

Temple

A Temple is a place where you are welcome to come in peace, always.

Maria de Chirikof's picture

Peoples not parties

One thing I think is vital to remember is that it is not about political parties but about people.

Lets take a good close look at the concept of slavery and sweatshops and how these are people. People who are forced into this and did not wake up that day thinking 'Gee, I am not quite as human as others so I should toil and work and do all I can to make them wealthy so they can enjoy life. My land does not need to be cared for for my future generations because it is much more important to make sure these few people who believe they are better then others have a good time while on this rock we call Earth."

Do you truly think people woke up thinking this?

If you have a conscious you realize "of course not" no person would ever think such a thing.

So, this is the basis of Truth and where the journalist needs to start from in any endeavor to report how things are.

This is where a 'responsible government' needs to start as well.

To try to deny that people and/or companies have not gone around the world and stolen lands from people and either enslaved them or impoverished them at best would be irresponsible.

Those that stole lands and resources do not want to lose what they have stolen. If you place them on the same level as any other sort of burglar or armed robber who has killed for money then you can see it clearly without bias. I believe any attempts to diminish what has occurred dishonors the people of that land.

So, the questions for an honest journalist is to find a way to fix this inequality that exists and write what is True about situations. I agree that we need to find non-violent ways to fix the injustice that lives in the world today. And we need to ask the tough questions as well.

If the police go after an armed robber and captured him and place him under arrest for his crimes, is this wrong? You already know the armed robber will not willingly turn himself in or willingly give back what he has stolen no matter how inspiring and non-violent our journalism is, right?

So, in a responsible government, is it not their duty to do this whenever it occurs?

I look forward to reading more of your journals.

About indigenous peoples, do you know any that are not mixed in some part? While many do marry other indigenous many others marry other races and yet they are still indigenous. I really hate those who try to keep track of the percentage of native blood someone has. To what purpose?

It is up to the tribe themselves to decide these issues I believe. A full-blooded one could be more against his tribe then one who has barely a drop but embraces their ideas and lives by them and which do you think the tribe feels is more 'them" and their worldview?

I look forward to more posts and would love to hear more about this "Andres de Santa Cruz y Calahumana," as I am sure everyone would!

Maria

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