The Battle for Honest Journalism
By Manuel E. Yepe
Exclusive for daily Por Esto! of Merida, Mexico.
A CubaNews translation.
Edited by Walter Lippmann.
We live in a world with all provisions set for the benefit of the owners of money: from electoral procedures and government structures to the smallest details of public and private relations. Everything has been oriented to the buying and selling mechanisms so they favor the owning classes who have the wealth.
In Latin America, not even Cuba –with its socialist revolution but also heir to countless of the methods, traditions and practices of capitalism– escapes this global reality. Except that in Cuba, by virtue of the deep socialist revolution that began half a century ago, the role previously held by the dominant wealthy classes is now exercised by society as a whole.
In the case of Cuba, a political organization –based on the most advanced revolutionary doctrine humanity has produced: Marxism– as society’s vanguard, protects its unity and ensures the legitimacy of truly democratic relations in all areas of society.
If we fail to consider that the mechanisms which freed Cuba from the evils of capitalism are still being created, tested, or waiting to be instituted to serve a social system that is also in the process of emerging fully, we are at risk of making serious mistakes. The Cuban revolution is not a copy of any other and, like other models that proclaim themselves Socialist, Cuba to find its own way.
Globally, journalism has become –for a long time now– an essential element of power, along with the three classic powers of the State (legislative, executive and judicial). Hence the media is often identified as the fourth power.
With this as its starting point, the ruling classes have succeeded in making the mainstream media (in print, radio, television and, more recently the Internet) a commodity and a tool aimed at convincing people and promoting compliance with capitalist ideas. They have done this with such effectiveness that they have succeeded in imposing their media dictatorship worldwide.
Advertising has become the lawful resource for those with money to defray cost of operating the media and thus controling it or exercise influence over its content proportional to the potential of their own economic and political interests.
Historically, big capitalists have not been satisfied with the ascendency they can get through their ads and have moved to partial or wholly ownership of the media, often using more or less publicly-identifiable fronts.
The ideological domination of oligarchies in Latin America –who often act as figureheads for the hegemonic domination of large US corporations– has been acquiring such a high level on the continent that no one doubts that a social revolution is not feasible without destroying the counterrevolutionary control of the media.
Confirmation of this conception is the fact that today in Latin America, the media under control of the ruling classes are playing the role that, in the last century, was played by the Latin American military hierarchy. The military carried out the coups –promoted by the United States– which plunged the region into the most nefarious situation of inequality, crime and misery.
However, according to recent experiences in the hemisphere, we could say that a coup may occur with the military or without it, with parliament or without it, with the media or without it, but always with the financial resources that move the wheels.
Although the laws of technological development tend to make the media increasingly social, the owners of capital have managed to always put communications and the media in a place outside the control of centers of democratic power. Thus, they facilitate their control by the owners of financial resources: the capitalists.
The Cuban experience –with its virtues and its many flaws that today are hotly debated by journalists in the island– shows that the social ownership of communications and the media with the widest popular participation, in a society with social ownership of the major means of production and distribution, opens the possibility of the use and effective enjoyment of these media by the majority… and safeguards it from the insatiable greed of capital.
Other mechanisms could be valid, but are yet to be tested and confirmed by practice.
September 19, 2016.
Spanish Headline Here
Por Manuel E. Yepe