FOPEA backs journalists' fight against editorial meddling from owners in Argentina

The Argentine Journalism Forum (FOPEA in Spanish) released a statement criticizing public and private media companies for pressuring journalists to meet their respective editorial stances during 2012. The attempt to influence journalists' reporting "comes into conflict with the ethical practice of the profession based on multiple voices, respect for diversity and the impartial treatment of information," according to the statement.

The organization celebrated the "brave decision of several journalists who rebelled against this situation" and demanded respect for the profession.

The statement highlighted the case of 100 journalists from Grupo Uno, owned by Daniel Vila, who signed a letter asking the owners to respect editorial independence following a series of supposed misrepresentations and changes made to reports by editors and the company's owners, reported the website Política Online and FOPEA. The owner, surrounded by bodyguards and cameras, told the journalists in a meeting that "the pressure will not only continue, it will increase" and added that "whoever doesn't like it can leave," reported the website Explícito Online.

"At FOPEA we believe the journalists from Mendoza stood up for journalists all over the country who are forced into participating in economic and political battles far from the public interest."

While the group acknowledged each companies' right to express their opinions, FOPEA noted that the place for this was in a well-defined opinion section. "The confusion between both styles or cutting down reporting process to one single voice does great damage to the profession and the consolidation of the democratic system."

FOPEA also called for legislation on a journalists' conscience clause through a bill it proposed on June 7, 2011.

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.