Union president announces libel complaint against digital newspaper in Chile

The president of Chile's central union CUT, Arturo Martínez, announced the filing of a libel complaint against the digital newspaper El Mostrador, because of an article that said the union president had spent about $1,300 on an extravagant lunch, reported Emol.

CUT released a statement clarifying the claims in the article, confirming the amount of the bill, but specifying that it had been a lunch for 36 officials. The statement also accused El Mostrador of being superficial and publishing imprecise information. According to La Nación, Martinez said the article is a political tactic that comes as discussions are beginning between the union and the government to raise the minimum wage.

In the article, “The new way to protest: Arturo Martínez's feast on May 21,” El Mostrador said the banquet was for just six persons, and it took advantage of the situation to sarcastically write about "chic unionism" and to criticize Martinez's leadership of CUT, a position he has held the past 11 years. The newspaper responded to the complaint with another article standing by what it previously had published.

Besides the complaint, CUT announced another action the ethics committee of the Journalists Syndicate. “These situations of stories full of lies and journalists' opinions" cannot be ignored Martínez said, as quoted by El Ciudadano. He added that the union respects "serious, honest journalists," but said he would not stand for libelous articles.

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.