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Review of "Letter From Lima"   Power Review of "Letter From Lima" Power Presentation Transcript

  • Letter From Lima: Have Peru’s Press Heroes Gone Too Far? By Jason Felch 28 July 2004 in Columbia Journalism Review (Accessed 13 August 2004: www.muckraker.org ) Review by Keri Algar
  • Things to consider
    • Role of journalist
    • Journalists’ ability to win public consent
    • Should journalists adapt their approach when reporting on different governments?
  • Fujimori 1990-2000
    • Controversial figure
    • Credited with uprooting terrorism and stabilising economy
    • Charged with human rights violations and authoritarianism
    • Widespread corruption under security advisor Vladimiro Montesinos
  • Media Corruption under Montesinos
    • Insidious editorial control
    • Primary buyer of TV advertising
    • Fingers in 95% of TV pies
    • Powerful influence in the prensa chicha , servicing the masses
  • Pockets of resistance
    • Investigative journalism instrumental in bringing down regime
    • Gustavo Gorriti’s battle with Montesinos began in 1983 – exile
    • Cecilia Valenzuela’s relentless pursuit to uncover government corruption (death squad of 1993) – threats
    • Channel 2’s expose on inflated incomes – deportation
  • The end of the game
    • Journalists’ tenacity credited
    • 2000 Valenzuela’s report reveals Montesino as mastermind of arms trafficking deal
    • Three weeks later Channel N airs the first of the Vladi-videos
    • Fujimori and Montesinos flee from Peru
  • So far so good
    • This is a good example of the media’s role as a public watchdog uncovering the truth
    • Western notion of journalism as fourth estate (sharp and critical eye on government)
    • But what happens in Peru post dictatorship…
  • Vladi-videos – dramatic impact
    • Videos Describe Montesino’s governance by espionage
    • Channel N’s airing of Montesino’s corruption is the first of many
    • Peru’s public shocked at the level of insidious government corruption
    • Public grapples to trust any governance
    • Vladi-videos leave Peru obsessed with surveillance and in a climate of accusation
  • Emergence of “serious sensationalism”
    • Sensationalism masked as investigative journalism “serious sensationalism”
    • Serious tabloids popular with public across the board
    • Correo
  • Accusatory frame of mind – denunciations tend towards the petty
    • Valenzuela’s using of wire taps to further investigations (not so)
    • Head of cabinet resigns after being accused of homosexuality
    • Vice President resigns after published photos of himself with a young girlfriend (allegedly father got tax kick backs)
    • Head of Intelligence Agency is seventh to resign in two and a half years, after alleged $7million land sale fraud
  • A tenderfoot democracy
    • Toledo’s governing inept – major criticism
    • Toledo’s approval rating in single digits (8%)
    • His sixth cabinet in 32 months in office in danger of collapse
    • Taxi driver “We need a strong hand in power”
    • UN study – 54% of Latin Americans prefer authoritarian regime if it improved economy situation
  • So, Have Peru’s Press Heroes Gone Too Far?
    • The impact of journalism on public opinion is apparent
    • Journalism can win public consent as well as depose governments
    • Are journalists trivialising investigative work?
    • Are journalists creating the perception that Peru in ungovernable by democracy?
  • The case for defence
    • Tafur from Correo “the content of denunciations was different…accusations just like today”
    • “ Press shouldn’t anesthetise itself”
    • Valenzuela “doubt is healthy”
    • “ Those who have power in my country always abuse it. Corruption in Peru is endemic:…it has to do with the political class in this country”
  • Post Felch
    • After continuance of political missteps and scandals, in 2006 Alan Garcia succeeds Toledo as President
    • 2008 Garcia’s entire cabinet was forced to resign after an oil corruption scandal
    • In the past year Garcia has elected two PM’s (first resigned after public outcry of the passing of Amazon land laws)
  • Back to the crux of the issue
    • The role of the journalist
    • “Should different standards apply to the journalist under a dictatorship and a democracy?”
    • “Should journalists be concerned if their reporting leads to a crisis of governability?”
    • Is there a case for development journalism as we saw in the Pacific?