With regard to the coronavirus spreading all over the world without pause, and the information that any of us as citizens of the world has available, it is good to have a little reflection on that delicate and today so questioned work, which is to tell people what is happening.
So important is the work of the press, that in Western democracies they are in fact called the Fourth Estate. In some countries, apart from the three traditional powers, other powers are even considered legally, such as the electoral power or the control or comptroller’s office.
But factually and not declaratively, the press exercises unquestionable power everywhere.
Information coming from a foreign media, in terms that praise Paraguay for its results regarding the pandemic, was inverted by a local media and put in the opposite direction, hand in hand with a comment made in the original article, about corruption in the country. The foreign article was positive in essence, while the local article highlighted the negative commentary and put it in the headline.
“Beans are cooked everywhere,” the old saying goes. And it’s true, in all countries this delicate profession is also subject to scrutiny, on its own merits. In the United States almost the entire press was in favor of Hillary Clinton when the 2016 elections were held, campaigning openly and without dissimulation. And the fact that in spite of this her candidate lost, opened the eyes of her owners and made them see that something had changed in the world. They are no longer the absolute owners of the truth.
In Paraguay almost all the traditional written media are now for sale. Its journalists write under pressure from the urgent need to sell copies, in order to save their jobs. That’s why the focus of the news often doesn’t fit with the people’s feelings, nor do the headlines fit with reality. This pressure on microphone professionals undermines their objectivity and credibility. The written word is no longer the Bible, as it was for our fathers, and on the networks everyone has their own opinion. The opinion of the written media is one more.
When interests other than pure and simple truth prevail in the information disseminated, neither the media nor their journalists can blame people if they do not believe them and do not buy newspapers from them. The transformation they need is not only from paper to digital, but also from interest and bias to objectivity.
The country needs both a good press, in the sense of being objective and critical, and a press understood only as an instrument of power. Because in the end, the only victim is the truth.