Tens of leading Argentine journalists gathered in Buenos Aires in a television program where each of them was invited to make public what question they would like to ask President Cristina Fernandez in obvious reference to the difficulties to have access to the Argentine head of state and her very limited contact with the press.
The program “Journalism for everybody” was organized by Jorge Lanata, an iconic media man, very successful both in investigative reporting and as an interviewer for his aggressive questions but also well researched and founded.
The format of the show is similar to that which some daring journalists have organized in countries where the profession of trying to find out what is going on and informing public opinion can be a dangerous: Venezuela, Cuba, China where access to information faces all type of hurdles.
Lanata called on President Cristina Fernandez to hold press conferences in which journalists can make questions, and precisely that was the leitmotiv of the show “We want to ask”, said and echoed the tens of journalist from all media, newspapers, broadcasters and television.
The majority of journalists are heavyweights of the Buenos Aires media such as Joaquín Morales Solá, Nelson Castro, Fernando Bravo, Marcelo Longobardi, Ricardo Kirschbaum, Eduardo Zunino, María Laura Santillán, Pablo Sirvén, Alfredo Leuco and Magdalena Ruiz Guiñazú.
The event had an immediate and extended impact in the social networks particularly Twitter under the hash “we want to ask questions” which also became one of the trendy topics with most comments worldwide.
Lanata recalled that in rare occasions Cristina Fernandez has held press conferences (five) since taking office and pointed out to several issues which “can’t be asked to the President”, and which she simply does not reply.
Lanata compared the record with that of President Obama, (almost 20 press conferences and over 400 interviews with journalists) but as you know “the US is a ‘shitty’ country…” said Lanata ironically.
According to the show ten issues are totally banned from Cristina Fernandez government public affairs agenda: inflation, the Ciccone case involving Vice President Boudou and the printing of money; the railway accident in Buenos Aires with over 50 people killed and 700 injured; crime and insecurity; Galuccio and YPF; Interior trade secretary Moreno; restrictions on dollar purchases and imports; where have labour funds gone to; bill on access to information; the personal fortune of CFK and her health condition, after all she was operated for cancer last January.
Finally the tens of journalists are shown holding billboards with saying “We want to ask”; “press conferences taking questions”; “free access to information”; “stop harassing journalists who don’t work for the government”.
Likewise Lanata ended saying that all members of all the media were invited but those who did not show up belonged to the government managed or influenced media such as Pagina 12 and Tiempo Argentino, “many of whose journalists adhered to the event but did not turn up fearing the consequences”.