Chile: The Year in Review

Este artículo también está disponible en español.

Chilean blogger, Julio Frank S. recently looked back over his archives and selected his most pointed posts (ES) of the past year. In doing so, he managed to capture a year of Chilean journalism, politics, and current events. What follows is a translation of Julio's two-part summary by Juliana Rincón Parra. If you are interested in translating for Global Voices, please leave a comment below.


Journalism seeks its destiny : “We Media,” a report on participatory and civic journalism coauthored by Chris Willis and Shayne Bowman, is translated into Spanish, contributing valuable knowledge on this promising current of social communication.

A Punctured Ball.   The official Chilean soccer championship begins with a great “novelty”: one channel has the exclusive television broadcast rights, and the rest only cover European league soccer.


Much Success to Share . The Member of the Parliament Juan Pablo Letelier, president of a special Chamber commission, hands in a report about the repeated non-fulfilment of the Chilean work legislation, particularly by successful commerce and service businesses and enterprises.


Writing about demi-gods. The book, “Doctors in the History of Chile” (J.F.S.) is published, and although the everyday problems have been “secularized,” it does not sidestep or avoid the traditional deified image of these professionals.


Wrong, but… right? A study leaves the national television newscasts in very bad standing, but surprisingly, it contradicts itself in its conclusions.

Television devilry. The evangelic television channel Vidavision disappears abruptly from the air, and the owner is negotiating the signal with a commercial society. The pastors announce they will sue.


The Bachelet Boomerang . The campaign for the Chilean pro government presidential candidate officially begins. Allegedly it's a civilian expression liberated from any political party's pressure, with a strategic communicational backing that keeps in in   an ample advantage over its rivals in the opinion polls.


The Masters of Internet Censorship . The organization “Reporteros sin Fronteras” (RSF) publishes a guide for bloggers and cyberdissidents which includes a detailed brief on how the net is being censored in different countries around the globe.

Stale reward Juan Pablo Cardenas receives the 2005 National Chilean Journalism Award, although a decade before he had already been recognized internationally for his practice during the past military regime.

It seems that Bachelet will win . The prediction is almost unanimous. Still three months away, the elections   results seem to bring only one doubt: President on the first or second round?


Is another America Possible?   A study upholds that the majority of Latin-Americans support democracy as the best means of government, but still lacks the civic culture to advance in it.

Firefighters and Church defeat Media .   The same study reveals that the mass media is still a long way from being the most trusted institution for Latin-Americans. This distinction corresponds to other institutions closer to their communities.

Two neighbors who can't be Friends . Peru and Chile argue again, this time for a new maritime delimitation approved by Peruvian authorities. The story repeats itself.

Sad memories of the rainbow . On October 5, it will be 17 years since the plebiscite that defeated Pinochet and sped up the return of democracy, but the winning symbol has lost its colors.

New fellowships of the Ring. Bachelet's supporters announce that the candidate has her own blog, but she only signs in sporadically and most of it belongs to them.

Five minutes was enough . The rules, structures and mechanisms are more important than what the presidential candidates are able to say during the first so-called debate.

Media 2- President 0 . President Lagos faces the newspaper, El Mercurio and the television channels for information he feels damaging to his image, forgetting that they are now invincible giants which, in some measure, his government helped grow.

From whence the news comes. A survey for journalists points out that the best sources of information are the principal public institutions and private companies. Guilds, unions and community organizations are not included.

I can't hear you father . The Jesuit priest Alberto Hurtado Cruchaga is canonized, giving joy to his millions of followers. However, his intellectual legacy and theories are not widely known.

University of Chile's vice-chancellor harshly critiques his country's situation . Luis Riveros, the highest authority of the main Chilean university, points out crassness in the communication media, mediocrity in journalism, run of the mill education and brutal inequality in society.

Surrender and shame. The journalist Mauricio Hoffman suddenly closes his blog. He cites scandalous public treatment of his commentary and denies alleged pressures by part of his employer, Channel 13.

The best critique of failure . Chile is eliminated from the next soccer World Cup, but not all explanations are excuses.


Strong self criticism of Argentinean Journalism . Professionals of the country candidly admit, in an opinion poll, lack of ethics, low daily rigor and the need for greater training among other shortages.

You're Fired: the Big Ones catch the bug. Los Angeles Times and Liberation join the other newspapers who are announcing a massive dismissal of journalists due to economic problems. The epidemic has gone global.

Fujimori: Welcome or Unwelcome? This well known South American ex-president is accused of crimes against humanity, flees the country, and goes into a neighboring nation as a simple tourist where authorities don't find out in a timely manner. An poor, international record for the Chilean government.

14 Personal Giants. In honor of our anniversary, the author of this blog publishes a selection of some of the most transcendent characters in Occidental History. An arbitrary, cathartic and sweet-talking post.

Poverty, humiliated on-screen . A study reveals that only four per cent of the information on the Chilean television's newscasts reflects the poor in their condition as such. Forty percent shows them in cases of delinquency or in disaster situations.

Ethics interpreted by money . The journalist Pamela Jiles is fired from the channel TVO; supposedly for failing the professional ethics code by publicly manifesting her political opinion. Journalists who exploit their image for commercial means, however, receive network's support.


Good and Bad Information. Northern European countries lead the international world ranking for freedom of press in 2005, according to Journalists without Borders (RSF). United States falls on number 44, among other surprises.

Bachelet, from small to large . The pro-government candidate wins the Chilean presidential elections with 45.95 percent of the votes. She will compete on the second round with a rival 20 points under, but against a conservative sector, which together, overcomes hers. Pro government supporters on the verge of a nervous breakdown.

Power is stronger . The political reactions after the first round are certainly not praiseworthy. Acussations, denials, cartwheeling, “super deals”, offerings, arrogance. The best to shun the second round.

Democracy also knows how to threaten. But it feels pity as well: for the first time the government sends out a new bill to pay a bonus to every member of the voting tables for their work in the second round. Recognition and relief for the pawns of democracy.

One arrives, one about to go. A new method of mainstream media begins broadcasting in Santiago, – Telecanal, frecuencia 2,- while the only city-wide radio station transmitting select music is about to close due to financial troubles.

A native with handheld calculator . It isn't a month of giving for the most popular sporting club of Chile, rather, it's the opposite: the Colo Colo commercial administration fires its entire technical team – emblematic figures included – for financial reasons.

New champions for Freedom of Speech? The season for the Chilean tv program, CQC ends. Along with the character Yerko Puchento, the commentator Eduardo Bonvallet and the biweekly, “The Clinic,” it had plenty of competition this year since freedom of speech got along better with comedy than with journalism.

May 2006 be better.


Linda Evarts was kind enough to also translate a selection of text from a year-end-review at the Chilean blog, Quemar Las Naves. I asked for the translation because it shows how central digital rights has become for many of Chile's bloggers.

I’d like to discuss two things that struck me during the year:

First, from the point of view of rights and technology, the event of the year was the Legal Workshop for Bloggers organized by Digital Rights two months ago in the Library of Santiago. It was really notable for its content and scope. I never thought that so many people removed from legal issues would be interested in an activity related to law. It seems to me that this says a lot about what’s happening in our society. I hope it signals good news for the future and encourages the creation of fewer personal blogs and more critical and opinion blogs. We need these.

Second, a self-reference. Reviewing the Quemar Las Navers archives, I wanted to comment on two posts for reasons that I will explain:

Naming of Bertelson: By far the post that generated the most polemic, it was a very interesting discussion immersed in commentary that ultimately turned into a debate between the brave Pedro and the recently arrived William. It is clear that despite the varied arguments made, the general tenor was that the naming of both Bertelson and Vodanovic was outrageous. We’ll see if someday Pedro can succeed in convincing me.

Notebookstore fools its clients for showing another facet of blogs’ influence. For those who didn’t read the post, in it I spoke about my experience with a technical service for notebook computers. Bad experience and surprising results. What was interesting was that even after several months, I continued to receive commentary on this posting from people who had brought their equipment to notebook companies and had received a similar answer: the companies would not fix them.
What characterizes both posts is the feedback between blogger and visitors. I’m not using the word “commentators” here because, if we look at the statistics, we see that the people who comment comprise not even 1% of the visitors to this blog. For the sake of decency, I won’t divulge how many daily visitors we have, but I will say that after a year online we’ve had more than 15,000 unique visits, a fact that is more than sufficient for me. Especially for a blog about legal matters.


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