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The Arab Spring is a Latin American Winter: TeleSUR’s “Ideological Approach” and the Breakaway from the Al-Jazeera Network

Massimo Di Ricco | PDF-Fulltext

Abstract: The Arab Spring represents a breaking point in the cooperation between the pan-Latin American satellite television TeleSUR and Al-Jazeera. Even if in February TeleSUR firmly condemned the closure by Egyptian authorities of the Al-Jazeera Cairo offices, NATO military intervention in Libya and the beginning of protests in Syria provoked an important change in TeleSUR coverage of the Arab Spring. This shift coincided with a departure from the Al-Jazeera network, sanctioning the possible end of a collaboration that always had strong political connotations. TeleSUR joined the cause of the protesters in the coverage of the Egyptian and Tunisian uprisings, meanwhile it took what we can refer to as an “ideological approach” in the coverage of the uprisings after the international intervention in Libya, implicitly embracing the official media version of the Arab regimes. This stance sparked controversy especially within grassroots Latin American movements, igniting a strong debate mainly visible on the web. At an international level, the undeclared departure from the Al-Jazeera network reflects the future split between leftist Latin American governments, who embrace and fund the multi-state TV network TeleSUR, and the forces that will come out from the Arab Spring. Finally, the Arab Spring represented a missing opportunity for TeleSUR to play an important role in global media, and not only for a national or regional audience. Indeed, TeleSUR gave more importance to the political interests of the channel’s founders, than in pursuing a balanced information out of ideological interests or geopolitical strategies.

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