The tendency to turn the political universe into a theater of war, which is not unique to our country, has led to a journalistic correlation that does us no good in this profession. That reality pits some against each other, taking different or decidedly opposing positions, is a dangerous cocktail that only serves to undermine journalism that has been in decline for several years. With few exceptions (and I must mention that this newspaper claims to be one of them), the public is almost forced to make a choice, knowing that not everything that some are told is true, nor what is being said from the opposite trench.
Ideas are not fought, but slogans. That is the point.
Of course, there are sinners. Journalist entrepreneurs, some of whom come from activities unrelated to journalism and its values, who impose biased editorial standards without regard for truth or intimacy; factors of economic power interested in a particular general policy; journalists and communicators who want to achieve fame but not authority; and politicians. Politics in this sense is a fundamental engine to promote the polarization of this activity, which must be carried out with a proper distance from the authorities.
“The disqualification of the press has been used by governments of various tendencies as a way to avoid journalistic control. The fight against it and protecting the freedom of the press should unite us all beyond the different editorial lines. The answer must be more journalism and more rigor about it. The problem is to engage in journalism without conforming to the government and becoming its political contender. Journalism must control the government and it must do so out of a job well done and not out of prejudice or political interests. It is clear that this does not mean neutrality against authoritarian governments that may threaten democracy, but rather, as a journalist, the challenge is to be able to inform, condemn, question journalism that corroborates, contradicts sources, provides context, investigates : .. and not from political prejudices. The quote echoes a brief analysis by Yolanda Ruiz Ceballos, a Colombian journalist who regularly contributes to Madrid’s El Espectador and El País and shares the Gabó Foundation’s ethics office with her Chilean colleague Monica González. Ruiz Ceballos responded to a question from a Mexican journalist concerned about what he described as his country’s government’s crackdown on critical journalism by closing it with a question. “How to return to the essence of commitment to truth in a context where there are only blacks and whites?” For Ruiz Ceballos, “the more authoritarian governments are, the better trained journalism is required to help condemn with argument and persistence, to help understand, decide and analyze. The threat to the press is a constant risk that we must face not only journalists, but also the whole society. Responsible information is necessary to preserve democracy.”
This fire, fueled by both sides of the pre-election divide, will continue to grow to the extent that the figures of this activity, which are seen as references to broad sections of public opinion, maintain their positions in line with one side or the other, with more or less nuances. Journalists are observers of the political process, not its builders. And much less its ideologues.
Those of us who ply this trade should stay out of arguments that don’t concern us. It is one of the functions of the press to protect the values of democracy.
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