Blog site Global Voices highlighted an ethical debate over discrimination and out-of-context quotes in Chilean media recently. According to Global Voices, Spanish-language TV news station Chilevision broadcast an interview with a woman named Inés Pérez on Jan. 15 about “the policy of a gated community, El Algarrobal II, in Chicureo that prohibits the entry of maids and other workers by foot.” Pérez is quoted as saying:
“Can you imagine here, in this gated community, domestic workers [nanas] walking outside? All the workers walking on the street, and your children there, on their bikes?”
See here the interview.
Global Voices reported that in response to Pérez’s interview, bloggers, Facebookers, tweeters and others criticized Pérez and a discussion about discrimination launched. For example, citizen news site El Quinto Poder published a discussion by Ximena Jara in which she addresses “the word ‘nana’ as a discriminatory term.”
But, Pérez’s comments were published out of context, according to Global Voices. This wasn’t revealed until Jan. 17 when “Chilevisión finally published the whole interview.” The transcript was published by a production assistant, who was later fired, Nacion.com reported.
See the full transcript here. In that transcript, Pérez is quoted being sympathetic to the employee. “Due to criticism, the channel was forced to broadcast the interview in its entirety,” according to Nacion.com
Global Voices reported that in a post for Sentidos Comunes, journalist Gianitsa Corral called on the public to be more accountable in examining information presented by the media before acting. She is quoted as saying:
“The media make mistakes, manipulate, play, transform, investigate, verify and structure the information we all have a right to know. But we are the ones who decide what to do with it. We can not justify our laziness with 100% of credulity in everything we see and hear. We are also responsible of capturing that reality.”
And journalism website Clases de Periodismo slammed Chilevision for publishing the quote out of context and made a “call for a correction.”
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Chilevision has defended its segment and argued that it didn’t “alter the final meaning of her statements.”
Twenty Complaints to National TV Council over Interview
Twenty complaints have been filed with Chile’s National Television Council, according to Maria Luisa Rivera from the council’s communications department. However, ten of those complaints “have already been discarded” because of errors in the complaint submission. Rivera told iMediaEthics that “Ms. Pérez did not file a complaint herself.”
The complaints mostly address criticism of Pérez’s quotes and the suggestion that the quotes either harm her “dignity/image” or suggest she discriminates. As Rivera wrote, “Most of them express being upset because they believe Ms. Pérez words were taken out of context.”
Chile’s National Television Council is “a self-governed constitutional entity” with 11 members, according to its website. We asked Rivera for more information about the council’s complaints process.
She told us that “The Council supervises the content of broadcasts already exhibited in screen, without previously intervening in the programming. Therefore, the complaints have to refer only to contents already broadcasted.”
Complaints have to be made “within 15 days” of air date and can be made by mail or online, according to Rivera. After complaints are made, the council’s supervision department reviews the complaint and the council lets complainaints know within “48 business hours” if the complaint will move forward.
We have written to Chilevision asking more information and comment about this story and will update with any response.