Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Beacon No. 37: The Chávez Channel


The Christian Science Monitor and others have been reporting on Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez's planned opening of Telesur, a 24-hour news network to be co-owned with Argentina and Uruguay. Chávez, a leftist former general with a well-earned dislike of the U.S., wants his Southern Hemisphere network to compete with what he says is Northern Hemisphere—and particularly U.S.—dominance of world news. (Comparisons with that other state-owned network with a penchant for ticking off Washington have come fast and furious.)

Considering Chávez already represses and increasingly controls Venezuela's domestic media, Telesur looks like a bid to increase Venezuela's soft power abroad by making it Spanish South America's de facto media outlet. Hopefully Telesur chief Aram Aharonian (test your Spanish chops on some of his writing) will hire serious journalists so Telesur can serve as an outlet for thoughtful coverage of South Americans by their own, rather than as wider platform for Chávez's often-lengthy rants against George Bush—and lionization of Fidel Castro.

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