By Samantha Badgen
Eight reporters were arrested on Monday Jan. 27 during a protest against the sale of the Chilean newspaper La Nación. The protest took place during the meeting of shareholders where the sale of the 97-year-old newspaper was finalized.
The journalists were arrested at La Nación’s offices, where they had chained themselves to protest the transaction.
Chilean broadcaster Radio Bio Bio reported that those arrested where leaders of the newspaper’s journalists union. Among them were Nancy Arancibia and Javiera Olivares, president and vice president of the union, respectively.
According to Bio Bio, the protest was a result of Arancibia asking all the employees of news media in Chile to meet for the protest outside La Nación’s offices.
La Nación was a public newspaper, with the government owning 69.26 percent of the shares. After being slowly taken apart in the past few months, the paper was finally bought by firm Novoa y Compañía Limitada for 320 million pesos, or about $582,400.
According to Erbol, the newspapers archives, which contained documents and information dating back to almost a century, were given to the Diego Portales University, a move that was widely criticized by La Nación’s employees, who no longer have access to the archives.
The newspaper’s sale was negatively received by its employees, who had previously protested the sale in multiple occasions. The closure left 117 workers unemployed.
According to the employees, the newspaper was viable, sustainable and capable of self-financing. Last year they asked the government to stop the sale and turn the paper into a public media outlet.
Arancibia, the union president, had told Radio Bio Bio that she hoped President Sebastian Piñera’s government would stop the newspaper’s sale. She also added that the privatization of La Nación would be a waste of all the potential the 97-year-old newspaper had and it would weaken its role and ability to grow and develop.
Note from the editor: This story was originally published by the Knight Center’s blog Journalism in the Americas, the predecessor of LatAm Journalism Review.