Ecuador’s media law represents something more complex than an attempt to bully critics. The Organic Communications Law attempts to treat the news media like a public good or service, with regulations intended to benefit citizens. It calls on each outlet to develop a code of ethics, calls for swift correction of errors, and requires national outlets to have ombudsmen to deal with public complaints.
Ecuador media law riles US journalists
fter a 2009 coup removed left wing president Manuel Zelaya, many were watching the elections in Honduras to get a sense of where the country—and US policy—might be heading. The early results said the elections were relatively clean, and the leading conservative candidate won the vote. But is that the whole story? Azadeh Shahshahani from the National Lawyers Guild will fill us in.
Also on CounterSpin today, Marissa Alexander is free on bond. But the Florida woman sentenced to 20 years for firing a warning shot in an altercation with her abusive husband still faces a retrial next year. How far has our legal system, and our society, really advanced in understanding domestic violence cases and are media helping? We'll talk with journalist Esther Armah about that.
His independence, help for Venezuela's poor will not be forgiven
Venezuela’s left-wing populist President Hugo Chávez died on Tuesday, March 5, after a two-year battle with cancer. If world leaders were judged by the sheer volume of corporate media vitriol and misinformation about their policies, Chávez would be in a class of his own. Shortly after Chávez won his first election in 1998, the U.S. government deemed him a threat to U.S. interests—an image U.S. media eagerly played up. When a coup engineered by Venezuelan business and media elites removed Chávez from power, many leading U.S outlets praised the move (Extra!, 6/02). The New York Times (4/13/02), calling it a […]
Don’t try this at home, voters
Over the past 30 years, the top 1 percent of the United States has experienced a 240 percent increase in its real annual income, while the median household income has barely budged (Economic Policy Institute, 6/18/12, 9/13/11). Imagine if this explosive, decades-long growth of inequality were somehow reversed—at an even faster rate than its original expansion. This has actually happened in Venezuela, and it goes a long way toward explaining why President Hugo Chávez was re-elected in October, despite many U.S. media pundits’ predictions of a victory by opposition leader Henrique Capriles (CounterSpin, 10/12/12). The likelihood of coming across an […]
Creating a potpourri of enemies south of the border
In May, a New York Times story (5/6/12) discussed plans to militarize the U.S. presence in Latin America. For some, this might sound redundant, given U.S. history in the region. Others might be struck by the notion that a nation embroiled in two major wars--and threatening to start another--could find the resources to escalate efforts south of its border. The article, which focused on U.S. efforts to strengthen its anti-drug campaign in Honduras, provided a glimpse of the evolution of the U.S. military's role in the world as the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq wind down. That role, the Times […]
Michael Shifter, media’s conflicted Latin America expert
If you’re covering Latin America for U.S. corporate media, Michael Shifter is the person to turn to when you need a quote. Currently the president of the Inter-American Dialogue research group, Shifter offers soothing centrism about political developments across the region—giving reporters soundbites on everything from a papal visit to Cuba to elections in Argentina to leftist Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez. Readers might wonder how one expert could be so valuable to elite media. What these papers don’t reveal is that Shifter is also valuable to an array of international corporations who fund his think tank—along with several governments of […]
Dana Frank on Honduras
The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency was reportedly involved in the May 11 killing of four innocent civilians on Honduras' Mosquito Coast. The operation caused condemnation in Honduras, and scrambling among U.S. officials, who mobilized to defend the DEA with on-the-record statements denying the agency did any actual shooting, and anonymous officials casting suspicion on the victims. With a few exceptions, U.S. media have not distinguished themselves. One of those exceptions is Dana Frank. Her piece, "Honduras: Which Side Is the U.S. On?," appearing on the Nation website (5/22/12), discusses the killings and the U.S. role in the escalating drug war […]
Download MP3 This week on CounterSpin: Argentina’s move to re-nationalize its oil company, taking it back from the Spanish company Repsol, is not getting good reviews in the corporate press overseas or here at home. The move will hurt and further isolate Argentina, say the critics. We’ll talk to economist Mark Weisbrot for another view. Also on the show: Campaign season means a flood of political ads intended to influence your vote. The FCC has proposed a measure aimed at making it easier to figure out who’s buying those ads, it’s public information after all, and you’ll never guess who’s […]