Wednesday, October 24, 2012
Just last Tuesday it was broadcast on the screens of the "channel of all Chileans," National Television of Chile / TVN, the program of the journalist Santiago Pavlovic, "Special Report", which promised to display unprecedented images on the situation in Mapuche communities of Ercilla, in his chapter entitled "red zone".
By Gerardo S. Berrocal
The impetuous title and the promotional spot's that were aired by the channel as a advance mode, already made the program's approach clear. The "exclusive pictures" registered by the GOPE police themselves with a camera on their helmet-those who violently entered the houses of Wente Winkul Mapu, showed the moment when Sergeant Hugo Albornoz, was dying on the floor after getting the shot that killed him, while entitled "Mapuche ambush".
However, before issuing the promotional trailers, the Temuco Court of Appeals issued an order prohibiting the channel broadcasting images of Sergeant Albornoz, at the request of the family of the police officer, who were affected when the images were partially showed. Accordingly, on Saturday before the broadcast, TVN withdrew the promotional video of its website.
But this did not stop the program to maintain its release date. Eventually, after a short wile one could confirm the suspicions, "arson attacks", "firearms", "fighting", "taking of plots", "Mapuche conflict", "red zone", it was what was promised by the program. Pavlovic would show the image of those who are the good Mapuche, that is, those who have accepted the Piñera government policies integrating into the Indigenous Development Area / ADI of Ercilla, represented by the figure of Lonko Juan Curinao; and the bad Mapuche, that is, those who "burn trucks", "steal weapons," commit "rustling", "burn houses", "take land", "threaten" the small farmers and cause the "fear" in the area, represented in the communities Autonomous Temucuicui, Traditional Temucuicui and Wente Winkul Mapu.
To operate the little innovative communication strategy Pavlovic emphasizes the arson attacks, with a large space for the familiar ingredient: the victimization of the "smallholders" sector, among them even counting people from Angol. Moreover, for example in the burning of Chequenko school, he does not clarify the circumstances nor the investigatory situation of the events, but on the contrary, he imputes in advance the Mapuche who maintain the territorial recovery, but without giving space to the version of the very members of the affected community, the parents of the children studying in that school, those who denied at the time -through alternative means by the way- the charges against them and that moreover even had suspicions that groups from outside the community could be involved.
The reportage also refers to the burning of the house of the Lonko Juan Curinao, which occurred at the same time an office was opened in Ercilla with ADI members, an activity interrupted by members of the communities of Temucuicui and Wente Winkul Mapu , whom authorities and media have been publicly accusing of being responsible for the burning, without anyone having troubled themselves to ask or make room for the possibility that there are other groups interested in blaming the Mapuche, as has happened in the past. But in the program also are found those to blame: "Autonomous CommunityTemucuicui", which in the words of Pavlovic, was identified by the Lonko Curinao.
The program also shows pictures of the march that was called for by the Autonomous Community Temucuicui, with those who try to continue contextualizing the environment in which the battered "red zone" remains, for that which is stated in the fiery speeches of the Werkén who addressed those who accompanied the landmark trial prepared to accuse young Mapuche of the community, charging them with one of many events attributed to members of communities in Ercilla that maintain the territorial recovery processes, the "Toll Quino Case", to which Pavlovic makes no reference.
Pavlovic says nothing either in relation to the dismissal, by unanimous vote of the judges, of all the accused in the case, or the complete lack of evidence to accuse them in a flawed trial that kept them imprisoned for almost two years, and on hunger strike for almost 90 days in 2010. Nor does it refer to the irregularities that led to expel from the case the Public Prosecutor for offenses in the process as "insulting" and "formal defects", in addition that which allowed them to be accused was only the use of the Anti-Terrorism Act, with a "protected witness". Or that the only complainant ended up being the Ministry from the Interior, in a politicized trial that sought until the end, despite the complete lack of evidence, the imprisonment of the Mapuche of Temucuicui.
According to Pavlovic, for the regional prosecutor of Araucanía, Francisco Ljubetic, in the application of justice "there is a bias towards the Mapuche", to which Ljubetic, who has been one of the main promoters of the mythical "rural guerrilla" - with the bias that characterizes him, states that in the cases against Mapuche for serious crimes the "standards of proof are not the same as for anyone", forgetting to clarify that the Anti-Terrorism Act neither is applied to anyone, but only to Mapuche who demand the recovery of the territory.
Neither was there a picture or word on the situation of the Mapuche political prisoners who began a hunger strike since August 27 in jail of Angol and from October 1st in Temuco prison, or the motives that lie behind that. Neither about the absurd accusations, the politicized and exaggerated mediatic trials and prison sentences hanging over the accused. Neither the fact that they have been indicted for alleged acts in which they ascribed to them the attempted murder of the head of the Carabineers of the IX Police Zone, Ivan Bezmalinovic, who led the raids from a helicopter while the alleged attack was made against him.
In this case, Pavlovic does not see a political way out, but a problem of "privileges" that was applied by judges to the Mapuche that are related to the the territorial recovery process, therefore, there should be a judicial and not a political solution. Contrary to what was demonstrated in the case of the Maori people, about those who, by the way, Pavlovic has a radically different view as a Native People compared to the Mapuche. Among other comparisons that require a process of much deeper discussion and a desire for dialog that this government does not have, as with that of the imposition of its repressive, criminalizing and welfarist policies with the Mapuche communities.
The role of the media in Chile
But it is not the first time this happens, TVN has a long history of manipulation of information in relation to the Mapuche people. Recall, for example, among many others, some recent cases, such as the real promotional campaign for the creation of paramilitary groups in the Ercilla, we saw for more than a week on the screens of the channel in both its regionally and national news and which Pavlovic made resurge.
Or the crude coverup that TVN was wanted to make of the war arsenal found of a landowner from Victoria, on whom in the reportage Pavlovic judgment that "he had no links to the attacks," but that rather "the violence points to indigenous groups" without indicating that the landlord is a member of "Hernán Trizano command", which has publicly threatened to "wipe out" the Mapuche of Temucuicui, that the reason for his dispute with René Urban is his "soft attitude" with the Mapuche and that "the links" that he may or may not have, have never been investigated by justice, and that he neither has spent a day in jail, like what would have happened with the Mapuche. On that occasion TVN also referred to the innocence of the farmer Temer San Martin saying he was a "gun collector", and putting in place images of the young Mapuche Luis Marileo, who had just voluntarily surrender to the police, claiming complete innocence in the fact of which he was accused, a situation that was certainly not duly reported by TVN neither then nor now in the program of Pavlovic.
Until when will we have to continue to tolerate the lies, lack of professional ethics, prejudice and racism of the Chilean media and unscrupulous journalists who are sent to communication missions seeking to clean the image of the government and justify the violation of essential human rights, and along with this, seek the criminalization and discrediting of legitimate social processes to claim rights that, for the rest, are recognized in various international treaties which Chile has signed, but not yet applies nor respects, unlike backward laws in the area of Human Rights such as the Anti-Terrorism Act inherited from Pinochet.
The longer we have to wait to have really public media that are not mere agencies for advertising and abetting corporate sector interests and politicians who control this country, that its executives are not vain political operatives and its media professionals are not mere mercenaries of their employers and really make a minimum effort to change their biased views and deepen adequately the complexity that the subject deserves.
Any country that claims to be democratic and says to be respectful of Human Rights should ensure adequate representation of all stakeholders in the media, thus ensuring access for all sectors of society through public media and facilitating the creation of their own means. Failure to ensure that these spaces exist in the mainstream media and not facilitate the proliferation of new media, violates the right to freedom of expression, right to information and communication, and the access to new technologies. It is time then to start demanding the recognition and respect of all human rights, including also the right to communicate, and to have public media containing programs that incorporate diverse points of view and respectful of local realities and social processes, also having the ability to communicate through their own means, especially, as in this case, on issues related to First Nations.
Posted by Autonomous Mapuche Community Temucuicui