Argentina's Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo accuse journalists in mock trial

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  • April 30, 2010

By Maira Magro

The Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo, an association of women who lost their children during the dictatorship (1976-1983), held a mock trial for journalists and media that they believe were complicit with the military regime, the Buenos Aires Herald and Associated Press report.

The event occurred Thursday, April 30, during the Mothers' weekly protest in front of the government palace. The role of judge was played by Hebe de Bonafini, co-founder of the group, who the AP describes as an activist with close ties to President Cristina Fernandez. The journalists and media on trial were represented by posters of their work and photographs.

Several members of the association played the role of prosecutors and accused seven journalists and five media—including leading newspapers Clarín and La Nación—of collaborating with the dictatorship. Other journalists and activists served as witnesses. All defendants were convicted of "betraying the nation," La Nación adds.

The government kept its distance, but the simulated trial raised several questions from the opposition, Germany's DPA agency reports. Several members of parliament tried to prevent the trial from taking place, but Fernández refused to intervene, saying she would not interfere with freedom of expression, or repress protests, the state agency Télam says.

The Freedom of Expression Committee of the Chamber of Deputies condemned the event and the circulation in Buenos Aires of anonymous posters making accusations against several journalists, Clarín adds. The government has denied being involved in that campaign.

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.