TV station begins Chavez assault on Europe
9 May 2007, MADRID - Telesur, the television network promoted by Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez as a corrective to what he sees as the biased coverage of Latin America by U.S. media conglomerates, views Spain as the bridgehead for a campaign to win an audience in Europe.
9 May 2007
MADRID - Telesur, the television network promoted by Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez as a corrective to what he sees as the biased coverage of Latin America by U.S. media conglomerates, views Spain as the bridgehead for a campaign to win an audience in Europe.
The president of the Caracas-based network, Andres Izarra, is now in Madrid looking to sign up Spanish affiliates to carry Telesur programming.
The network is "a news service about Latin America, from Latin America," he told Efe in an interview.
The idea is to offer "a vision from the south" which transcends the limits of the New World, with Europe as the "first step outside the region of the Americas," he said.
"Spain, because of its historic relationship with Latin America, is the bridge between Latin America and Europe, and the first market to which we are reaching out to establish our network," said Izarra, who was communications minister of his country between 2004-2005.
Telesur began broadcasting on July 24, 2005 with the participation of Argentina, Bolivia, Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela.
From the beginning the channel has been involved in controversy about the Pan-American ambitions it espouses and the accusations, principally from the United States and Colombia, about its lining up with the left-wing populism of Chavez.
But Izarra said that the idea is really to replace with this new vision the one "that the great media conglomerates have been spinning about Latin America and continue to spin on a daily basis."
"It's not the same to cover Latin America from Atlanta the way CNN does, as it is to cover it from Latin America itself," the network boss said.
Telesur, he said, "is offering a Latin American vision of Latin America," without underestimating other points of view.
According to Izarra, Telesur's advance into Europe began last year with the first contacts to obtain broadcasting rights and the respective licenses.
The president of the Latin American channel hopes that operations in Spain will begin by the end of the year, as soon as the red tape of licensing and satellites is dealt with.
"We believe there is a great opportunity for Telesur in Europe. There's a hunger, a great curiosity to know what Latin America is all about," above all at a time when the region "seems to be going through a renaissance," he said.
Madrid and London are set to be Telesur's European headquarters, "although we are seeing a need to be in Brussels, because of the whole subject of the European Parliament," he said.
As for the attacks hurled against Telesur, Izarra said that their impact has been paradoxically positive.
"We launched Telesur as a long-term process. But it has been able to grow in the short term and become a strategic project thanks basically to its detractors," he said.
In that respect he mentioned the efforts of certain sectors of the United States Congress to fund "a signal that would counteract the 'terrorist' signal from Telesur."
Such attacks took "what was a long-term project and quickly gave it an international presence of great importance," he said.
To underscore its independence, Izarra explained the accord signed with the BBC to exchange content that gave supervision of Telesur production to experts from the British channel.
"An appraisal of Telesur and its content was made, specifically to determine that Telesur is not TeleChavez, TeleEvo or TeleFidel," he said, referring to the president of Venezuela, Hugo Chavez, the Bolivian head of state, Evo Morales, and Cuba's Fidel Castro.
"We stick to the most basic journalistic principles of thoroughness, balance, pluralism and relying on multiple sources," he said.
As to the future after Europe, he emphasized the importance of Africa, although for that project the limits imposed by language will have to be overcome.
"Then comes Asia. Telesur's vision is to have global coverage and we believe we are advancing towards it," he said. EFE
[Copyright EFE with Expatica]
Subject: Spanish news