Behind the Panama Papers

The filtrations naked and exposed the dark side of big players from world power. The secrets of diplomacy of the first world power, in the case of the "Cablegate" Wikileaks. The massive espionage intelligence services of the US and Britain via phone and internet, in the case of the revelations of former spy Edward Snowden. The use of powerful companies and tax paradises to hide financial transactions, in the case of Panama Papers that just appear. But that's not all. The filtrations also interpellate and exhibit the limitations and complicity of the mass media and a profession, the journalist, who today is in crisis or reformulation due to the processes of technological advancement and business concentration that cross. Technological progress makes today practically all be journalists in the use and management of a media outlet, whether it 's a website, a blog or social network account. New technologies also make possible the filtrations and dynamited the traditional relationship between source and transmitter, that is, between filtering and journalist. Paraphrasing McLuhan, the medium is the filtration. Moreover in recent years, traditional media have undergone a profound transformation. They went from being relatively self - sufficient family businesses without large economic links, to a model of private media mega - corporations, state or mixed, who manage tens or hundreds of media across multiple markets and platforms, and also are part of or linked to large economic groups infocommunicational that control different markets (cable, cellular, film, television, broadcasting and sports marketing, etc.). These links produce conflicts of interest that hinder the task of journalistic balance to group employees. Consequently increasingly information are silenced because the mainstream media have more to hide than to show. To this we must add that advertisers these means have also been reduced and concentrated due to competition from the Internet, while production costs journalists have been significantly reduced due to technology. This crossing makes the relationship of forces between advertisers and traditional media has changed strongly in favor of advertisers, generating even more conflict of interest and reasons not to count on the traditional, now fearful of losing their main sponsors, media who to turn feel increasingly powerful because they invest more money in the media that its owners. However, in the absence of an alternative news model of massive scope, filtrators still rely on the mainstream media to spread but above all to make accessible the mountain of data and narrative depth to give what they are trying to report. Of course all exercise involves editing a dose of censorship. So the leakers pay a price to make a pact with the mainstream media, which is nothing less than the loss of control of that data for which they violated laws, risked their lives and in some cases mortgaged their future, as Snowden did, Chelsea Manning and Julian Assange, among others. In turn big media, most with their influence, their circulation and profits in freefall because the news is free internet also need the big filter feeders to remain in force. Then welcome to publish although filtrations expose them to ethical limits bordering with theft, fraud, or even treason. So this uneasy alliance between big media and leakers, this mefistophelic pact, as described by Martin Becerra arises. The pact works but more or less. Sometimes better, sometimes worse.

 

The Argentina case

Let 's see how things went here in Argentina. In the case of Cablegate, the great day of either side of the crack feasting on US cables that speak of their political enemies were. But the media as a whole refused to publish the cables referred to Clarin group, the newspaper La Nacion and recognized journalists Jorge Lanata and Joaquin Morales Sola. However, after giving exclusivity to Pagina 12 and then to La Nacion, a few months Wikileaks made public all cables that were delivered to those newspapers and so, through books, blogs and other alternative formats, it was known all megafiltración information that the mainstream media had ignored or directly tried to hide. Then came the leak of Snowden. The information was released by the British newspaper The Guardian, which has the distinction of operating as a nonprofit foundation paid for by the estate of a millionaire with the sole purpose of keeping the independent newspaper external financing. However, most Snowden documents never were revealed. First, because the British government raided the newspaper and ordered the director to burning hard drives with data in the presence of the authorities. Second, because the journalist who contacted Snowden with The Guardian and wrote the main articles on the subject, Glenn Greenwald, was bought by a website dedicated to investigative journalism called the intercept, whose owner is the founder of E-Bay. This gentleman, Pierre Omidyar, apparently is more interested in having a journalistic tool to defend themselves against interference in their business by United States intelligence, that full disclosure of the information held. So, for example, it has not published a line of what Snowden documents said on the Iraq war. It is also known that the information extracted by Litvinenko includes data on Argentine targets from English espionage linked to the Falkland Islands and it is no coincidence that Cristina Kirchner is the only head of state known to be met with Snowden in Russia. But all that information, which have only Snowden and two or three journalists still did not see the light and it is difficult that happen while former leaker spy negotiated his return to the United States. Finally arrived Panama Papers revealed by German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung and the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists. The consortium, in turn, distributed them to a hundred newspapers around the world. Including journal La Nación and Clarin Group Channel 13 in Argentina. As explained by La Nación, in the documents that were delivered there are 540 names linked to Argentine companies located in tax paradises. However, the revelations have been limited to a few cases. On one side are the Argentineans with international significance that can not be hidden by the local media because their stories would be published by other consortium members, as is the case of President Mauricio Macri and football star Lionel Messi. On the other hand the typical public official an example of the stupid state is always an easy target for this kind of journalistic research appears in this case of former B.A. city Economy minister, Néstor Grindetti. Finally , the partners and associates entrepreneurs Cristobal Lopez and Lazaro Baez, who are being investigated by La Nacion and Clarin as necessary accomplices of the call K money trail. Of the other 540, there are no news. And yet we sense, almost know, that list includes much of the Argentine business. We know, for example, just over a decade the magazine El Guardian from banker Raul Moneta published in detail how the family Saguier have bought La Nacion from their cousins Mitre using money channeled through offshore companies in the Cayman Islands tax paradise. Funds for the purchase would come from Saguier aunt, Ernestina Herrera de Noble, in turn principal shareholder of Grupo Clarin. El Guardian gave the names of those companies. But that information is not among the Argentine revelations of Panama Papers and without access to documents is difficult to know whether or not listed in the leaked information. But continues to draw the attention of dozens of personalities reported worldwide from the Panama Papers include almost no media entrepreneurs and the few that do appear, none is a member of the consortium informative. It is also striking that having more 540 names linked with tax paradises, Clarin and La Nacion published only a few cases. Nor it can be seen that the means of competition make much effort to get that list, lest they too or their relatives or advertisers on the payroll. The problem for the mainstream media is that there are more than 400 journalists around the world who have worked with the filtered information and that makes it likely that sooner or later data silenced reach the hands of alternative media that they have no conflicts of interest with owners of offshore companies. When that happens, if it happens, the consortium members will be exposed for all that did not count because he could not tell. Is that tax paradise are not simply caves of tax evasion in the service of the rich and famous, as given to understand the journalistic narrative that emerges from Panama today Papers. They are, above all, financial instruments of large corporations. They are part of the globalized capitalist system that imposes its rules over the will of governments and social actors who question. Within this system called traditional media are no longer media as mediators between different power factors. They have mutated means to ends, ends of large corporations, storytellers hegemonic narratives or pretend to be, before discoverers of uncomfortable truths. The leaks, in its different variations, as they are becoming more frequent, show the limits of journalism as we know it and emptied contended the claim of balance and independence of the mass media, even those who once could be.


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