Counter-hegemonic journalism from the regions | Opinion

I bring from Cali, one of the epicenters of the resistance and the popular uprising of 2021 in Colombia, the message of solidarity with Julian Assange and the demand that his humanity and his word no longer be imprisoned by order of the US empire and that truly respect freedom of thought, expression and information.

Julian Assange’s fight to decrypt the truth to reveal to the world the crimes of that empire is a fight against world political and financial hegemony and its accomplices, those abject and submissive people who in all parts of the planet crow about freedom of the press and claim to defend it. , while they deny it, cut it off, violate it, as has happened in Colombia, whose history of more than two centuries of segregation is also the history of hegemonic media dedicated to fulfilling their role as ideological arms of oligopolies, to defending their powers.

In 2021, the ruthless repression, by blood and fire, ordered by the Iván Duque regime against the people who demanded rights in the streets, left, just in Cali, my city, more than 50 boys and girls murdered, and in the department from Valle del Cauca, where I come from, 18 more young people massacred, and hundreds of wounded, tortured, disappeared, detained.

This reality was encrypted, silenced by the mass media of the elites of the two-headed feudo-bourgeois system existing in Colombia, in compliance with their function of being gatekeepers of the right-wing government on duty, which, with few exceptions, presented those who protested in the streets as vandals and terrorists, and hid the murders committed against the people by the Government Armed Forces using the usual fallacious formulas, without investigation, superficially, attached to official press releases.

So the truth about the barbarism that occurred in Colombia in 2021, with a history of popular uprisings in 2019 and 2020 also brutally repressed, was not disseminated by the system’s media, which, on the contrary, misrepresented it. It was disclosed by hundreds of men and women from the town who, at the risk of their lives and their freedom, were at the points of resistance, not only in Cali and Valle del Cauca, but in many parts of the country, showing the world through networks, influencers, alternative media and some social research portals what was really happening.

Only in this way, with popular communication with virtual transmissions arranged in dissimilar points of cities –such as Cali, Bogotá, Ibagué Popayán, Pereira, Cartago, Tuluá, Buga, Yumbo, Jamundí–, Colombia was able to learn that those killed by official bullets exceeded the hundred, a figure that historians of the present are just beginning to consolidate, that the abuses by the Police and the Army occurred by the thousands, and that paramilitary elements fired at the demonstrators, protected by the police, as happened in Cali.

Only in this way, with ordinary people, mainly young people, endowed with telephones and courage, with elementary technology and with no other resources, it was possible to transmit to the world the truth of the barbarism carried out by a regime whose boss, Iván Duque, today struts around with impunity for international stages, while hundreds of mothers and families fight against impunity and oblivion in the country.

This spontaneous, genuine and rebellious communication exercise in the streets of Colombia was supported by hundreds of small alternative media outlets that made their equally important contribution to the breakdown of misinformation and merciless stigmatization that prevailed throughout more than three months of 2021. Colombia from the traditional media octopuses.

Of this magnitude was the counter-hegemonic struggle from the regions in 2021, within the framework of which from the Cali Free Journalism portal, among many others, we made our modest textual and audiovisual contribution of denunciation and from which we continue to reconstruct stories and documents, in an absolutely unequal struggle to ensure that there is no impunity. That fight will soon materialize in the book Memories of Barbarism, a compendium of one hundred testimonies of mothers and families lacerated by repression and revictimized by the judicial apparatus and by communication hegemonies, which not only silence their struggles, but also revile memory. of the murdered young people and twist the truth about the tortured, detained, disappeared boys and girls.

And it is precisely in this task of decrypting the truth, as Julian Assange did in the face of the crimes of the invading empire and violator of human rights in the world, that from Valle del Cauca we are promoting the Colombian Collective Periodismo por la Verdad, with the that on November 4 of this year we held in Cali the Forum called New Power, Alternative Journalism and Democratization of Information, a space for reflection, among many that urgently need to be generated in the country.

It is a conjunction of some media and journalists gathered around the philosophy of veracity, that is, the search for truth, the critical exercise of the profession and the commitment to the noble and just causes of humanity, as is that of the deepest solidarity with Julian Assange, and as is also that of not silencing the truth, a practice of the vast majority of the media of the oligarchic establishment in our country, “the press of the system”, as the iconic Alternativa magazine that in 1974 he helped found García Márquez and that in his time became a dam against the abuse of power and official violence in the governments that followed the exclusive regime of the National Front.

At the forum we called on the government of President Gustavo Petro and Vice President Francia Márquez to define an urgent and solid communication strategy that helps, first, to keep the Colombian people informed in a truthful, massive and effective way about their important proposals and achievements and, second, to develop a permanent pedagogy that counteracts the manipulation and misinformation in which the hegemonic corporate media are engaged.

Today we find ourselves in a moment of ruptures in Colombian history, in which the social resistance of previous years was transformed in 2022 into political struggles for structural changes in the institutional framework and in Colombian society, and we understand that these changes must also be communication.

The media of the elites demand freedom of the press on a daily basis, but it is known that since the printing press was invented, this freedom of the press is only the will of the owner of the printing press, that is, the big financial and business octopuses with their means of communication. communication as minions and defenders of their system of privileges, the same system that invades countries at the imperial level, violates human rights in the name of democracy and that imprisons and gags those who, like Julian Assange, dare to reveal that reality. It is the freedom of the press only for them.

Faced with this dictatorship of manipulation and arbitrariness, new communication spaces emerge every day from the Colombian regions, which yesterday denounced the regime of terror established by a repressive government, and which today not only demand punishment for the guilty, but also document in the fight against oblivion and are willing to help push the train of social transformations under way, in pursuit of true democracy, starting with informational and communicational democracy.

Thank you very much for listening to us.

*Paper presented at the forum ‘Assange, WikiLeaks and journalism: imprisoned freedom of expression’, held at the Alfonso López Pumarejo Auditorium of the National University, Bogotá headquarters, on Tuesday, November 22, 2022, in solidarity with Julian Assange.

Disclaimer: Via Telesur – Translated by RJ983

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