A dilemma of Dominican dailies (again)
The recent row over the construction of a cement plant close to the Haitises National Park once again shows why major newspapers shouldn’t be in the hands of business groups, or banks or other interests whose main activity isn’t news and information.
Newspaper El Caribe, which in a survey published yesterday by newspaper Diario Libre figures with a paltry 4.92% of the country’s circulation, is the latest example.
A prestigious business group based in Santiago, which holds a majority stake in that daily, is behind the plant whose construction is already underway.
But El Caribe’s lopsided reporting of the conflict strips it of its prestige earned from decades of balanced journalism, and both lose as a result.
It happened with Listin Diario in the Baninter debacle; with Diario Libre in the Bancredito scandal, and even with the innovative Clave Digital when it had to defend its owners during the troubling last few months of the project Cap Cana.
The shining exceptions: El Nacional, Hoy and El Dia. Their owner, Pepin Corripio, somehow avoids tampering and allows their editors to report it “as they see it,” an unwritten rule Dominican Today’s owners also respect.
Déjà vu all over again. El Caribe is owned by a group headed by Manuel Estrella, CEO of Acero Estrella, which forms part of the conglomerate building the controversial coal-fired plant at Punta Catalina.
The relationship has handcuffed El Caribe from reporting objectively (if at all) the Punta Catalina scandal, part of the Odebrecht bribe case.