viernes, 6 de enero de 2012

Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo and the country’s largest media conglomerate, Clarín.


Tal como varias veces lo planteamos la Militancia trasciende barreras, incluso las del idioma. No es la primera vez que traemos artículos en inglés, lo hicimos con el New York Times, con The Guardian y con la cobertura sobre el G20, hoy traemos este raconto sobre el caso Noble y sus hijos apropiados, y el impacto en la credibilidad del multimedio más poderoso de la historia argentina. POLIKARPO

Inaccuracy may run fast, but the truth generally catches up. One of the most respected public figures in Argentina, Estela Barnes de Carlotto, leader of the Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo, personally closed this week one of the sharpest fronts opened in the war between the government of President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner and the country’s largest media conglomerate, Grupo Clarín.
Carlotto said the investigation into whether the two adopted children of Grupo Clarín owner Ernestina Herrera de Noble were born to abducted and later “disappeared” victims of the 1976-1983 military dictatorship “has been resolved by law.” Carlotto acknowledged that the Grandmothers’ presumption that Marcela and Felipe Noble Herrera could be children of the disappeared proved wrong after the two agreed, after a decade of a cobweb of legal wrangling, to have their DNA samples crossed-checked with those of their potential blood families.
Carlotto’s announcement has not been confirmed yet by the judge in charge of the investigation. Judge Sandra Arroyo Salgado will also have to decide on an indictment slapped on Mrs Noble.
The Noble Herrera children’s drama offers a case study about how not to handle a highly sensitive situation, by all — or most — sides involved. It took over a decade to solve the case, when the average investigation into babies born in captivity takes around a year and a half. The public debate peaked in tension in March 2010 when President Cristina Fernández said the Noble Herrera case amounted to “an acid test” for Argentina’s democracy and added she would personally accompany Estela de Carlotto to international human rights courts if “extortive media powers” blocked justice domestically.
Grupo Clarín referred to the case all along as an instrument for political persecution against Mrs. Herrera de Noble. A book published this year by Graciela Mochkofsky (Pecado Original. Clarín, los Kirchner y la lucha por el poder, Planeta) on the relationship between Grupo Clarín and the political establishment over the last decades devotes almost half its pages to the Noble Herrera children. Mochkofsky argues that Grupo Clarín’s reluctance to cooperate with the investigation resulted from the fact that Mrs. Herrera de Noble had no certainty about the origin of her adopted children. Grupo Clarín was, according to this interpretation, not willing to face the risk of undergoing DNA tests in a context it deems to be politically manipulated by an anti-Clarín sentiment. “They did not know and they did not dare to find out,” writes Mochkofsky.
The Grandmothers of the Plaza are renowned worldwide for their work, which brings present dignity to past horror. They have restored the identity of over 100 children of the disappeared. They continue to look for another 400 children. But their search has and continues to be invariably associated with the State’s commitment to their cause, which comes in the form of funding, cooperation and court action. The Grandmothers should be credited whit keeping the human rights cause alive in the courts and the public opinion in the aftermath of immunity legislation and pardons in the late 1980s and early 1990s. On June 1, 1998, the human rights tides shifted with the symbolic arrest of former dictator Jorge Rafael Videla in a case filed by the Grandmothers denouncing that the military had introduced “a systematic scheme” to abduct children during the so-called “dirty war.”
When the permanent and legitimate interests of two parties with clout — in this case Mrs. Herrera de Noble’s Grupo Clarín and the Grandmothers — collide, State participation in any of its forms — the courts to begin with — is the key to a resolution. The Executive branch declared an explicit interest in the context of a war on Grupo Clarín, and the information available for the public became tainted. Speculation thwarted a swifter resolution and encouraged passion rather than rationality. Potential victims were further victimized and the public was left in the dark.
Mochkofsky’s book is a good account of the relationships Grupo Clarín has had with the political establishment through the last three decades. The book has a few but substantial revelations — especially some juicy reconstructed dialogues between former president Néstor Kirchner and Grupo Clarín CEO Héctor Magnetto — but its main merit is to present a series of facts in un-opinionated form for the readers to make their own judgment. Journalism, they used to call it.

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A resounding yearend transfer in the journalistic world was announced this week. Jorge Lanata, arguably the most versatile journalist in Argentina, has signed up to host a radio show starting February on Radio Mitre, owned by Grupo Clarín. Lanata will also reportedly host a TV show on Clarín’s Canal 13 later in the year. Lanata’s arrival is a quality leap for Grupo Clarín’s journalistic team. The thing Grupo Clarín needs the most is intelligent journalism to counter a loss of credibility resulting from its tussle with the government over the last three years. The credibility bleed actually affects the newspaper more than its broadcast media. One may think Lanata, who founded two newspapers, Página12 and the now defunct Crítica, in a prolific professional life, could be a good choice for making the heavyweight and best-selling daily Clarín rediscover the good old practice of drawing visible lines between opinion, lobby and news.
Marcelo J. García, a former Herald staff writer, coordinates the Communications Department at the Society for International Development (www.sidbaires.org.ar)

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