Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Bad press

Maybe it's the island mentality, or maybe it's the over-reliance on technocracy, but Chileans love, love, love rankings. Quite often, Chile ranks far above its Latin American neighbours on almost any measure. So it comes as a shock when Chile does badly, especially when the country drops precipitously. For this reason, the publication of Reporters Without Borders' World Press Freedom Index has dealt a blow. The country drops to position number 80, and is now surpassed by places like Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Mali, and (ouch!) Argentina.

The cause? It's in the report:
"In Chile, where student protesters questioned the over-concentration of media ownership, violence against journalists included beatings, cyber-attacks and attacks on editorial staffs. Many of these assaults, often accompanied by heavy-handed arrests and destruction of equipment, were carried out by abusive armed police who were rarely called to account"
This confirms a phenomenon that I have been wondering about for a while. How is it that a government made up of people who have travelled, obtained postgraduate degrees at Harvard, speak many languages, and come from a private sector that claims to be open to the world, continue to think that the world is not aware of what is happening here? How is it that they continue to implement policies -- from education to security to aboriginal rights - that cause international criticism, whilst pretending that it has a model to sell to the rest of the world?

Increasingly, the world isn't buying.

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