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Peru: Second Electoral Round Kicks Off

Candidates Ollanta Humala and Keiko Fujimori. Photos: TVCultura (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0) and Congress of the Republic (CC BY 2.0)

A few weeks before the second round of elections in Peru, the choice between the candidate of Gana Perú, Ollanta Humala Tasso and the daughter of the ex-president Alberto Fujimori, Keiko Sofía Fujimori (for Fuerza 2011), the growing polarisation in Peruvian society, and ultimately from the  electorate, is as notable in the press as it is on social networks.

The most striking news these days is the recent dismissal of two journalists from the local news channel Canal N, property of  the “El Comercio” group of companies, supposedly for not complying to instructions to display coverage in favour of Keiko Fujimori.

This action has generated feelings of disgust within the journalistic community as well as with the colleagues of those fired.   Raúl Tola, journalist and colleague of Patricia Montero and José Jara, questions in his daily column in the periodical La República [es]:

¿Cómo debemos interpretar este despido quienes todavía trabajamos en Canal N o América Televisión? ¿A partir de ahora, cada vez que propalemos una noticia deberemos hacerlo tomando en cuenta lo que los propietarios consideran «el bien del país», es decir la candidatura de Fuerza 2011? ¿Acaso no es nuestra obligación informar sin consideraciones de esta naturaleza, respondiendo solo a nuestras conciencias, a los principios rectores de la profesión, a los lectores y televidentes, y no a intereses subordinados?… ¿Qué pensará la ciudadanía de un medio que juega y esconde la carta de la libertad de expresión de acuerdo a los devaneos de la coyuntura…?

How should we who still work at Canal N or América Television interpret this dismissal? From now on, every time we release a story should we do it taking into account that the owners consider “the good of the country”, in other words, the campaign of Fuerza 2011? Perhaps it isn't our duty to inform without considerations of this nature, responding only to our consciences, to the fundamental principles of our profession, to the readers and viewers, but  for subordinates interests?… What would the people think of a media that hides and plays with the freedom of expression Act in short term dalliances…?

Keiko Fujimori in a session in Congress. Photo: Congress of the Republic of Peru (CC BY 2.0)

Bloggers and users of social networks are asking the same thing. For example, Gustavo Faverón posts on his blog Puente Aéreo (Aerial View) [es]:

quienes se aprestan a votar por Keiko Fujimori colocan como uno de sus argumentos (el más disparatado) su temor de que con Humala llegue una dictadura represiva, que barra con las libertades de información y de prensa…. (…) Y para ponerse al día sobre las cosas que Humala hará con sus libertades de expresión, leen los diarios y las  estaciones de televisión del grupo El Comercio, medios en los cuales, hace varios días, han empezado los despidos y los extraños nombramientos: despidos de periodistas que se niegan a escribir en favor de Keiko Fujimori y contra Humala, nombramientos de otros periodistas que ya estuvieron conectados con la mano negra fujimorista en la dictadura anterior…

those who are prepared to vote for Keiko Fujimori display (most delusionally) their fear of a repressive dictatorship under  Humala, that suffocates the freedom of the press…. (…) And that there will come a day when the things that Humala will do with freedom of speech, they read the papers and watch the television stations from El Comercio, mediums from which for a couple of days now, have begun firing and making strange appointments: dismissals of journalists who refuse to write in favour of Keiko Fujimori and unfavourably of Humala; and the appointment of other journalists who were connected to the Black hand of the previous Fujimori regime…

César Lievand (@argosmozart) comments on Twitter:

@Frospigliosi @tuesta lo que ha hecho el GRUPO EL COMERCIO ha sido un atentado contra la libertad de prensa y expresion.

@Frospigliosi @tuesta what el GRUPO EL COMERCIO has done has been an attack on freedom of the press and of expression.

Silvio Rendón shares his opinion on the Facebook page of his blog Gran Combo Club [es]:

Cipriani [el Cardenal] es el alfil, El Comercio es el caballo, la CONFIEP [gremio de empresarios] es la torre, Fujimori [Alberto] es el rey, y Keiko la reina. Y hay hartos [muchos] peones.

Cipriani [the Cardinal] is the bishop, El Comercio is the knight, the CONFIEP [guild of commerce] is the tower, Fujimori [Alberto] is the king, and Keiko the queen. And there are countless pawns.

Jack Sánchez (@wifaperu) affirms:

A votar con mayor razón por Ollanta Humala.

Now there is a greater reason to vote for Ollanta Humala.

The beginning of this article mentions the polarisation of society, which patents itself on social networks: in this sarcastic tweet from Paul Nassi (@ManzanaPecadora), one doubts the credibility of these and other protests in favour of the freedom of the press, just as it does with the question of moral appropriateness in itself:

Si El Comercio apoya a Fujimori, se ha vendido. Pero si la Republica apoya a Humala es libertad de expresion. No jodan

If El Comercio supports Fujimori, it has sold itself out. But if La Republica supports Humala, it's for freedom of speech. Don't mess around…

Ollanta Humala. Captura de pantalla de Enlace Nacional, TVCultura (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Sokro, from the blog Cero Contenido [es] (No Content) speaks of certain local journalists who openly consider themselves  anti-Humala:

“…estaban convencidos que cholos comiendo sushi es lo mismo q crecimiento económico, q blancos viendo “Al fondo hay sitio” [popular shows de TV local] y comiendo en pollos Hikary [populares restaurantes de pollo a la brasa] es lo mismo que la superación del racismo, y que los pobres son pobres porque son brutos o flojos…

“…they are convinced that “cholos” (people of mixed race) eating sushi is the same as economic growth and whites seeing “Positions of power in the background”  (“Al fondo hay sitio”, a popular shows from local TV] and eating Hikary chicken[popular roasted chicken restaurants] is the same as overcoming racism and that the poor are poor because they are stupid and lazy…

Luchín (@Lu_chi_to) anticipates:

#Elecciones2011 bayly [Jaime Bayly, presentador de TV, quien ha declarado su apoyo a Fujimori] regresará a la TV como parte del plan demoledor a “OH” [Ollanta Humala] mucho cuidado y atentos con lo que viene aparte de todo esto

#Elecciones2011 bayly [Jaime Bayly, TV presenter, who has declared his support for Fujimori] will return to TV as a part of the  plan demolition “OH” [Ollanta Humala] Be very careful and mindful of all that comes as a result of this

Alexis Palomino (@alexispalomino) says:

Gran parte de la riqueza de la fam [familia] #Bayly se basa en las utilidades mineras. Esas q Ollanta promete revisar…#elecciones2011

The greater part of the riches of the Bayly peeps [family] #Bayly are derived from mining utilities. The ones that Ollanta promises to  investigate…#elecciones2011

Bloggers are not dispassionate about these controversies and questions, for example Mario Ceroni posts on his blog [es]:

Estoy harto de recibir correos y mensajes en contra de un candidato o candidata. Lo peor que ni siquiera están bien sustentados y tan solo se basan en conjeturas que fácilmente pueden ser rebatidas razonablemente. En vez de ello deberían enviar mensajes a favor de su candidato, exponer y sustentar algunas de esas propuestas.

I'm fed up of receiving emails and messages against one or the other candidate. The worst is that none of their arguments are solid but only based on propaganda that can easily be reasonably refuted. They should send messages in favour of their candidates instead, propose and stick to their word.

In accordance with the surveys of popular vote published on Sunday April 24 [es] a slight difference is revealed between Humala and Fujimori, at 42% and 36% respectively.

Tweeter users Bryan Gutiérrez (@brgch) and Maria Gracia Pérez (@mariagraciap) interpret the disenchantment that takes the forefront in most Peruvians by commenting:

Ollanta o Keiko, en vez de elegir al mejor elegiremos al menos malo

Ollanta or Keiko, instead of electing the best, we choose the lesser of two evils

Creo que no importa cuánto lea sobre los candidatos, mi voto seguirá siendo un asco el 5 de junio. #elecciones2011

I don't think it matters how much we read on the two candidates, my vote will continue to be one of disgust on June 5th. #elecciones2011

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