Posts Tagged ‘journalism professor’

Puerto Rico: Public News Channel Dismantled

Wednesday, October 14th, 2009

Friday, August 21st, 2009 @ 17:13 UTC
by Firuzeh Shokooh Valle

This post is also available in:
Português: Porto Rico: Canal Público de Notícias é Desmantelado
简体中文: 波多黎各:公共新闻频道遭裁撤
繁體中文: 波多黎各:公共新聞頻道遭裁撤
Español: Puerto Rico: Desmantelan canal público de noticias
বাংলা: পুয়ের্টো রিকো: সরকারী সংবাদ চ্যানেল বন্ধ করে দেয়া হয়েছে
Français: Porto Rico: Démantèlement d’une chaîne publique d’informations
The newsroom of Puerto Rico’s only public channel, TUTV, was practically dismantled recently, allegedly due to budget cuts. The president of the Corporation of Puerto Rico of Public Broadcasting, Israel “Ray” Cruz – who was appointed by the government elected last November – fired about 50 employees, many of them journalists. The newscast, founded 15 years ago, will still be on the air for the next two months, at which point the lay-offs will be final. A group of reporters, camerapeople, producers and editors were not fired, but the future of the program is still uncertain. The government of Puerto Rico has already initiated a financial plan that includes laying-off approximately 30,000 government employees.

The very same day the public channel employees were notified they had been laid off, anchor woman Gloria Soltero gave a biting message to her audience during the newscast. The blogosphere in Puerto Rico has been loaded with comments on Soltero’s words, but first, here are some excerpts of Soltero’s message:

A aquellos que dieron lo mejor de sí para nuestro taller informativo, para que eso acabara, los felicitamos, lo lograron. Entre ellos está nuestro presidente Israel ‘Ray’ Cruz, que siguió al pie de la letra lo dictado por nuestro gobernador Luis Fortuño, quien le deja saber al pueblo de esta forma que no le importa lo que acontezca con la cultura de nuestro país, y mucho menos con lo que pase en nuestro país con sus empleados públicos.

Acuérdense, pueblo de Puerto Rico y a usted, señor gobernador, que como diría nuestro querido y respetado Aníbal González Irizarry, “un pueblo sin prensa es un pueblo esclavo”. Sr. Fortuño: si su deseo es un pueblo esclavo, usted lo ha logrado.

To those who gave the best of themselves for our newscast, in order for it to end, we congratulate you. You accomplished it. Some of those people are our President Israel ‘ Ray’ Cruz, who followed step-by-step the orders given by our Governor Luis Fortuño, who has let the people know that he does not care what happens to our country’s culture, and much less what may happen to the government employees of our country.
Remember, people of Puerto Rico, and you, Mr. Governor, as our dear and respected Aníbal González Irizarry [a famous Puerto Rican journalist] would say, ‘a country without press is a country that is enslaved.’ Mr. Fortuño: if your wish is to have an enslaved country, you have achieved it.

The journalism professor Luis F. Coss says in his blog Calahondo [ES]:

La solidaridad no puede ni debe ser un fenómeno pasajero. La solidaridad debe ser un estilo de vida frente a la codicia y frente a las políticas y prácticas que atentan contra la dignidad del ser humano. Celebro la respuesta de Gloria y de Ojeda ante las acciones destempladas de los patronos. Ahora nos toca a todos transformar los episodios heroicos en trabajo cotidiano, en conciencia madura para explicar lo que nos pasa hoy y el mañana al que aspiramos.

Solidarity cannot and should not be a passing phenomenon. Solidarity should be a way of living, in order to face greed, and the policies and practices that endanger our dignity as human beings. I celebrate Gloria’s and Ojeda’s [a Puerto Rican radio journalist] responses to the harsh actions of employers. Now, we must together transform the heroic episodes in daily work, in a mature conscience to be able to explain what is happening to us today and the future we hope for.
In her blog Hoy me desperté de arena [ES], I. Caballer writes:

El lamento, la rabia y la indignación por el despido de empleados públicos son experimentados en estos momentos en carne propia por otro grupo de trabajadores puertorriqueños en el Canal del Gobierno de Puerto Rico. En esta ocasión, la única diferencia es que pudieron hacer uso de un medio masivo de comunicación para expresar su sentir y pedirle al pueblo que tome acción y no olvide.

The pain, the fury and the indignation caused by the lay-off of government employees is experienced once again by another group of Puerto Rican workers at the the channel of the government of Puerto Rico. This time, the only difference is that they could use a massive communication outlet to express their feelings and ask the country to take action and not forget what has happened to them.
Blogger Luis Daniel Beltrán comments [ES]:

Una reacción que denota la indignación por el cierre de un medio informativo que – aunque en alguna ocasión estuvo maniatado por los caprichos del partido político de turno en el poder – servía al país, sobre todo en los tiempos de incertidumbre que se viven desde comienzos del año en curso.

[Soltero's] response denotes the indignation caused by the closing of an information space that, even though it has occasionally been at the service of the whims of the political party in power, it has served the country, especially during these times of uncertainty since the beginning of this year.
This post was also translated by the author.
The thumbnail image used in this post, “television”, is by Walt Jabsco, used under a Creative Commons license. Visit Walt Jabsco’s flickr photostream.
Posted by Firuzeh Shokooh Valle Print version
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3 comments
Ralph J Sierra Jr
Totally irresponsible!! Kudos to Soltero!!

# 2009-08-21 At 17:57 Pm
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Andrea
Thank you for the blog. This news story was ignored by the US media. Thanks again.

# 2009-08-21 At 20:40 Pm
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# 2009-08-24 At 2:56 Am