Saturday, 18 June 2011

Further coverage on the Madres scandal

With the Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo well known internationally, it's hardly surprising that media outside Argentina has picked up on the whiff of scandal. I think the distraction is a shame though, considering that there are still pressing human rights issues to deal with in the country. Coverage has focused both on how close links with the now-tainted group could be damaging to Cristina Kirchner in the run-up to an election, and conversely, on how close involvement with politics has been damaging for the group in recent years.

53% of those questioned in a recent poll believe that the scandal will have far-reaching consequences for politics. Political scientist Carla Carrizo argues that the structure and working methods of Argentina's ruling Justicialista Party end up placing significant power in the hands of non-state actors.
Mothers of Plaza de Mayo scandal "toxic" for president (IPS)

The story is obviously a gift for anti-government papers La Nacion and Clarin, but the polarised state of Argentine journalism is not exactly beneficial for the reader.
Coverage of human rights group scandal sparks debate on role of Argentine journalism (Journalism in the Americas)

This is the example of the kind of headline that can undo years of hard work by the Madres
Argentina human rights group money spend on Ferraris, yachts and villas (Mercopress)

This is also a very critical article. Look at how it sets the scene for the foreign reader:
The group’s reputation in Argentina has soured, owing to the leftist activism of its leader, Hebe de Bonafini, who has praised the authors of the terrorist attacks of September 11th 2001.
The image is also captioned "No longer a lily-white reputation". I mean, it is correct that Bonafini has long been a controversial figure and she does make blatantly anti-US remarks. She is arguably a poor figurehead for the Argentine human rights "scene". Still, snide coverage like this ends up leaving a nasty taste in my mouth because ultimately, the Madres are not Bonafini. Let's not forget the disappeared in all this.
The mother of all scandals? (The Economist)

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