SANTIAGO – Executive directors from free television channels were called to a meeting in La Moneda. Member unions of the TV Workers Federation (FETRATV) responded by denouncing the invitation, because the purpose of the meeting was unspecified. The group suspects the government wants to intervene in their coverage of the massive social movement in Chile.
The government called for a meeting with all free television channel executive directors. The TV Workers Federation (FETRATV) publicly rejected the invitation, and speculated it might be an attempt to intervene in coverage of the social movement that is currently rocking the country.
FETRATV president Iván Mezzano Sepúlveda explained the rejection in a letter to National Television Association (ANATEL) president Ernesto Corona Bozzo:
“This practice is characteristic of dictatorship behaviors, and it is unacceptable as it becomes censorship for covered press, affecting the autonomy and objectivity of the media … and the right to free, timely, and veracious information that the Constitution guarantees.”
These words and the whole letter were shared by the Union of Football Channel Workers (Sindicato CDF) on Twitter.
The document, however signed on Oct. 25, is still not shared by FETRATV’s social media. The four biggest TV-channels, CHV, Mega, TVN and Canal 13 returned one day after the historic march in Santiago center to their normal broadcast program.
The Controversy Around Chilean Media
Covering a social movement in which uncertainty, and even rebellion, are already on the table, mass media carries the heavy responsibility of staying as truthful and as objective as possible, and controversies have arisen regarding the stand different media providers have taken to inform the population about what is happening in the nation.
Media in Chile have been accused of criminalizing the movement, sharing information mostly about the robberies, fires, and destruction. Although the information responds to actual events, the specific characterization of the movement can transform it into a source of fear and hate, shading or altogether eclipsing the actual demands and asserted injustices behind the protests.
In Radio UdeChile the Journalism School of La Universidad de Chile has made calls in the past to reject such imagery: “[We must] respond to the ethical and social requirements our profession demands, with a plural and ethical treatment [of the information] that not only takes official information to account, but all [citizens’] voices.”
#ChileQuiereCambios : media have an important role in covering the protests in Chile. We acknowledge that role and verify all the information sent to us. We investigate and bring only news that has been checked by multiple sources. Thanks for following @ChileTodayNews pic.twitter.com/RK24HdvOzd
— Chile Today News (@ChileTodayNews) October 24, 2019
Camila Huecho is a journalism student at Universidad de La Frontera in Temuco, currently interning at Chile Today. As a freelance illustrator and Fellow at the Melton Foundation, she works to bring information and cultures together through communications and art.