Wednesday, March 30th 2011 - 05:14 UTC

Argentina honours Chavez with press freedom award for fighting “media monopolies”

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez was given a press freedom award during his visit on Tuesday to Argentina. The University of La Plata said it was honouring him for his efforts to break “media monopolies” in Latin America and support “popular communication”.

The Venezuelan president is presented with the Roberto Walsh award (Photo EFE)

The award has angered critics who accuse Mr Chavez of stifling opposition media in Venezuela. The university said it was giving Mr Chavez the Rodolfo Walsh award for “his unquestionable and authentic commitment to defending the liberty of the people, consolidating Latin American unity, and defending human rights, truth and democratic values”.

Chavez welcomed the honour and told a crowd of students that Venezuela was promoting ”a new dynamic of communication and information free from the media dictatorship of the bourgeoisie and the (US) empire“.

Since becoming president in 1999 Mr Chavez has set up the Telesur network, which offers a state-funded alternative to private television stations across Latin America. He has also funded a major expansion of state-funded media in Venezuela that support his populist politics.

Chavez has also been involved in a long-running battle with private media companies in Venezuela, who he has accused of supporting efforts to overthrow him. New regulations have forced the closure of many pro-opposition radio and cable television stations, although independent newspapers and websites still operate.

Opposition groups and some media organisations in Argentina and Venezuela have criticised the decision to give Mr Chavez the Rodolfo Walsh prize, which is named after and Argentine journalist who disappeared during military rule in the 1970s.

The head of the the Argentine parliament's commission for freedom of Expression commission, Silvana Giudici, said giving the prize to Mr Chavez was ”inconceivable“ and ”a contradiction“.

Referring to the journalism award, Chavez said he is proud to receive it, even though some say ”that the dictator Chavez doesn't deserve it.“

”One must fight the media dictatorship. The dominant classes always manipulate the communications media and trick the people through powerful psychological campaigns,“ he said.

Chavez's government forced the opposition RCTV channel off airwaves in 2007 by refusing to renew its broadcast license. The telecommunications agency then ordered cable companies to drop RCTV International last year for refusing to carry Chavez's speeches and other mandatory programming. The government also cited licensing issues in forcing 32 radio stations and two small TV stations off the air.

The majority owner of Globovision, Venezuela's only remaining anti-Chavez TV channel, fled the country rather than be jailed pending a conspiracy trial for keeping two-dozen new vehicles at one of his homes. Guillermo Zuloaga, who also owns several car dealerships, said Chavez ordered bogus charges.

Venezuela still has independent newspapers and web sites, including the newspaper El Nacional, which on Tuesday editorialized against the award.

”That a South American university doesn't know about this grave situation and dares to honour this military leader with the Rodolfo Walsh Prize says much about the destruction of values that the Kirchners have imposed on the Argentine nation. Walsh was a victim of military repression and his example is now stained absurdly,“ the paper wrote.

Walsh was an investigative journalist who co-founded Cuba's Prensa Latina press agency and later joined Argentina's leftist Montoneros guerrilla group. He died in a military ambush in 1977.

La Plata University Journalism professor Claudio Gomez said in an interview that the faculty decided to award Chavez the prize for ”his work for popular communication, for example by creating the Telesur channel. This doesn't mean that we agree with other measures his government has taken against critical mass media.“

Dean Florencia Saintout said the university created a new category of the Walsh award for Latin American leaders committed to giving a voice to people who are least heard from, and that she hoped for an open debate about his ideas.

”This prize we are giving is not neutral, it is not aseptic ... you head a profound process of emancipation in Latin America,” Saintout said of Chavez.

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1 xbarilox (#) Mar 30th, 2011 - 08:31 am Report abuse
”press freedom award for fighting “media monopolies”they should be killed, Chávez owns everything in Venezuela and many things in Argentina, he controls the media in Venezuela, and he is against media monopolies? hahaha
2 Idlehands (#) Mar 30th, 2011 - 08:47 am Report abuse
Truly hilarious
3 Zethee (#) Mar 30th, 2011 - 10:02 am Report abuse
How can they award a man who is single handedly destroying his nations media an award for press freedom.
4 Idlehands (#) Mar 30th, 2011 - 11:16 am Report abuse commissioning comeone to make a trophy and then authorising someone to give it to him.

I have Oscars, Nobel Prizes and a Ballon D'Dor on my mantlepiece. I'm the most successful human that ever lived.
5 GeoffWard (#) Mar 30th, 2011 - 11:47 am Report abuse
Simply gobsmackingly amazing.

A perfect example of Orwellian DOUBLESPEAK.

For any Argentinian unaware of the expression, the book '1984' may still be availabe, but get your copy quickly before the book-burning starts in ernest.

Oh, poor, poor country!
6 WestisBest (#) Mar 30th, 2011 - 11:59 am Report abuse
“How can they award a man who is single handedly destroying his nations media an award for press freedom.”

It was an award from an Argie University (such as they are)....nuff said.

“his unquestionable and authentic commitment to defending the liberty of the people, consolidating Latin American unity, and defending human rights, truth and democratic values”.

I particularly like the last on the list of fat Hugos virtues, 'commitment to democratic values”??...this is Hugo Chaves the DICTATOR we're talking about isn't it?

PMSL @ the scyophantic RG's
7 googer62 (#) Mar 30th, 2011 - 12:42 pm Report abuse
Oh dear me. It kind of says it all
8 Raul (#) Mar 30th, 2011 - 02:36 pm Report abuse
“This award is giving us is not neutral, not sterile ... the head of a deep process of emancipation in Latin America, ” Chavez said Saintout.

There are a lot of prejudice and ignorance on the part of Anglo-Saxon world of the play that Hugo Chavez is taking Venezuela. Remember that in 2005, in Mar del Plata all American presidents thanked Chavez in his struggle against the FTAA and the emergence of ALBA and UNASUR trade threat against the U.S. and global partners (Britain and the NATO). The media and European Caucasians, they ascribe to the concept of single thought, as CNN and BBC lied in saying that Gaddafi had fled to Venezuela and later found that the news was false. It is not surprising because these agencies are repudiated Anglo on the continent by supporting the coup in Honduras and the “humanitarian” bombing of civilians in Libya. Chavez is not alone, on the contrary, it supports all of Latin America for defending the continental interests and promote Latin American unity and the just claims Malvinas Argentinos.

I suggest reading this link:
9 Britishbulldog (#) Mar 30th, 2011 - 02:58 pm Report abuse
Raul. No Its just that we are not fooled by this Chav.
10 jerry (#) Mar 30th, 2011 - 04:10 pm Report abuse
Raul. “Remember that in 2005, in Mar del Plata all American presidents thanked Chavez ..... ” How many American presidents were there at this time? The USA only has one president at a time. I remember that Luis D'Elía, the thug friend of the Kirchners, admitted that Chavez paid him one million dollars to set up marches and protests against President Bush when he came to this conference in Mar del Plata. And then Chavez was THANKED???'
11 GeoffWard (#) Mar 30th, 2011 - 04:50 pm Report abuse
I know it hurts, but you really have to see truth and honesty where it is obvious, and lies and misdeeds where they are obvious.
This Chavez-award is so much in the realms of fantasy and misdeeds that you do yourself no favours by failing to see and recognise it when you see it.
For, if you cannot see this, you cannot see anything, and your opinion is worthless.
I am sorry,
12 Think (#) Mar 30th, 2011 - 05:11 pm Report abuse
(8) Raul
Chavez is not alone.
You are not alone.
We are millions in South America.
And we are winning.
13 Forgetit87 (#) Mar 30th, 2011 - 07:02 pm Report abuse
Chávez doesn't own everything in Venezuela. Almost all private media in Venezuela are owned by oligarchic opponents of his administration - a situation that is very close to that in other South American countries. AFAIK, there's only one single private media outlet that Chávez has closed down. It was a TV network whose owner was personally involved in the 2002 coup and who had made a deceptive coverage of the coup events in Venezuela that was sympathetic to the golpistas. And the TV network wasn't really closed down; instead, Chávez just refused to renew its licence after it expired, something that is entirely constitutional. Of course, the international press didn't quite mention the whole thing, choosing instead the publish anti-Chávez narrative that he is a budding tyrant.
14 jerry (#) Mar 30th, 2011 - 07:58 pm Report abuse
Chavez is not a “budding tyrant”. He is already a full-fledged one!
15 Monty69 (#) Mar 30th, 2011 - 09:34 pm Report abuse
12 Think
Chavez is not alone.
You are not alone.
We are millions in South America.
And we are winning.

Nice one. What are you winning? Hopefully there are enough bogus awards to go round.
CFK can have an award for services to the plastic surgery industry. How about Timmerman?Honorary membership of the Corps of Sniffer Dogs and the annual Shoot Yourself in the Foot trophy.
For you Think.....the Golden Turnip award from WTF University Tierra del Fuego.
16 WestisBest (#) Mar 30th, 2011 - 11:16 pm Report abuse
The photographer made a mistake, That's not the Rodolfo Walsh award Fat Hugo's holding there, it's just a choc from his packed lunch.

Om nom nom.
17 Monty69 (#) Mar 30th, 2011 - 11:48 pm Report abuse
I think it's a Ferrero Rocher Easter egg.
18 Think (#) Mar 31st, 2011 - 02:43 am Report abuse
No, Monty69………

Is not a Ferrero Rocher Easter egg.
Is a bronze depiction of a book:

And yes, we are winning………… List too long to mention here, girl.
Try reading some newspapers.

Hasta la victoria, siempre
El Think

Did you catch that 15 pounder on Sunday?
19 Martin_Fierro (#) Mar 31st, 2011 - 03:30 am Report abuse

We don't take allies for granted
20 WestisBest (#) Mar 31st, 2011 - 10:00 am Report abuse
“Try reading some newspapers.”

Hugo's newspapers perhaps? ;-)

There's another award he may well be entitled to soon the way he carries on, it's called the Darwin Award.

“We don't take allies for granted”

Of course you don't, when your only reliable ally is just one man who lives in as desperate a fantasy as yours you need to cherish him.
21 Monty69 (#) Mar 31st, 2011 - 10:47 am Report abuse

I'm afraid Chavez doesn't qualify as he's still alive.
22 Martin_Fierro (#) Mar 31st, 2011 - 11:46 am Report abuse
20 WestisBest,

Actually our ally is Unasur, half a continent. Or haven't you noticed? ;-)
23 WestisBest (#) Mar 31st, 2011 - 12:08 pm Report abuse
I meant REAL allies. You know, the ones who actually back you up rather than just talking.
24 GeoffWard (#) Mar 31st, 2011 - 01:36 pm Report abuse
Télam. National News Agency of Argentina. August 10, 2009.
”The Chiefs-of-State members of the South American Nations Union UNASUR (block made up of Argentina Brazil, Chile, Uruguay, Paraguay, Venezuela, Ecuador, Colombia, Bolivia, Guyana, Peru and Surinam) signed an official statement where they repeated the “support to the legitimate rights of the Argentine Republic” on the sovereignty dispute with Great Britain over the islands.

“The State and Governments Chiefs of UNASUR reiterate their back to the legitimate rights of the Argentine Republic on the sovereignty with the United Kingdom of Great Britain and North Ireland referred to the ‘Malvinas Islands issue”, according to the text.

Martin #22,
I have examined the wording of the text of your Argentinian news source.

Firstly Unasur is a WHOLE continent, Mercosur is half a continent (Your # 22 refers).

Secondly, the constituent leaders of the Unasur states legitimately supported the statement of support for the *Legitimate rights* of Argentina and the UK in 'the Malvinas issue'. We would all support legitimacy - this is like supporting Good and rejecting Bad.

And they 'remembered' (sic) to remind Argentina and the UK to revisit and resolve the sovereignty issue.

This is, of course the province of
(i) the ICJ alone, though it is powerfully conditioned by
(ii) the wishes of the inhabitants,
(iii) the present status (TFI, SG & SSI are UK OTs), and
(iv) the rights of Self-Determination of the Island people.
(v) EEZs are the province of the land-mass that defines them.

All of which militate against ANY involvement of Argentina itself.
25 Think (#) Mar 31st, 2011 - 04:59 pm Report abuse
(21) Monty 69

So...... You didn't catch the big one on Sunday.........

Maybe you should change bait.....

Worms maybe?
26 briton (#) Mar 31st, 2011 - 09:54 pm Report abuse
That is an impressive list of countries, the argentine government should be proud that so many will back her up in time of conflict, but I must say, that even if Argentina put all of these countries together, all of their ships-all of their planes -and all of their troops- they would not only , still lose, but they would lose humiliatingly, and would never recover the indignity of the shame that they would have to live with, perhaps it would be better if they used this back up to perhaps push Argentina into giving up this [golden chalice ] that they never owned or ever likely to .
just an observance,
27 Martin_Fierro (#) Apr 01st, 2011 - 07:58 am Report abuse

What the hell are you talking about? What makes you such an expert? And why are you promoting war in the first place?

It's 2011, I don't know what year you live in.
28 GeoffWard (#) Apr 01st, 2011 - 10:12 am Report abuse
it's an impressive set of countries backing *legitimate rights*;
they conspicuously did not ask Argentina to prove its claim of legitimacy because this would invoke the ICJ, a place where they know Argentina is loathe to go
29 Martin_Fierro (#) Apr 01st, 2011 - 12:41 pm Report abuse
As Mercosur and Unasur expand, unify and strengthen the list will get bigger.
If this were about legitimacy the islands would have gone back to Argentina a long, long time ago. This is about strength in numbers, resources, influence, leverage.

The UN is nothing but a whore house and its leaders are more than happy to bend over and take it from those with the most power. So what the hell does “legitimacy” have to do with it?

And the ICJ, probably the same scenario. The ICJ has no jurisdiction in South America. Why? Because South America says so.
30 WestisBest (#) Apr 01st, 2011 - 05:24 pm Report abuse
How very unilateral of you Martin.
31 GeoffWard (#) Apr 01st, 2011 - 09:31 pm Report abuse
I used to watch Charlie Sheen and American sit-com for a good laugh, now i rarely get beyond Martin's postings.
Don't stop, Martin. We really enjoy the colour you bring to our little grey lives (OMG! I'm quoting Evita!)
32 briton (#) Apr 01st, 2011 - 10:47 pm Report abuse
So again martin was wrong,
once again one misses the point.
33 MyaRu (#) Apr 02nd, 2011 - 10:32 pm Report abuse
Nah... this is too much... ._.

(LOL @ the ferrero rocher easter egg)
34 RICO (#) Apr 03rd, 2011 - 09:47 pm Report abuse
What a wonderful gong, it will look good on the mantle piece next to the Qadaffi Human Rights prize and the Adolph Hitler award for International Statesmanship.

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