VHeadline.com : Thursday, August 1, 2002 — Education Minister Aristobulo Isturiz’ daughter Rosarys has written an open letter to El Nuevo Pais director Patricia Poleo and Globovision TV talk show presenter Jose Domingo Blanco chiding them for spreading “the news” that her father had purchased a $750,000 luxury yacht.
Rosalys Isturiz quotes none other than Colombian author and Nobel Prize winner Gabriel Garcia Marquez in an item he wrote in 1995 questioning the ethics of journalism in the electronic age … especially the “vicious use of quotation marks” to cover up false statements and anonymous sources, such “top government official” or “observers.”
“The yacht scoop” according to Miss Isturiz quips, has two interpretations … the first is political, i.e. Poleo and Blanco are “the soul” of the Venezuelan opposition with a mission to feed it with “reasons” to reject Chavez and followers … the second is ethical: Isturiz appeals to the National College of Journalists (CNP) Code of Ethics, evoking a journalist’s duty to the general public to provide impartial, truthful, honest information i.e. “truth cannot be waived aside … a journalist commits a serious fault when s/he make accusations in bad faith, without proof or when s/he makes unjustified attacks on the dignity, honor and prestige of people, institutions or groups … a journalist must verify information received and recur to ideal sources in order to transmit information in a truthful manner.”
Where is the yacht, the contract of sale, the Minister’s $750k check or, at least, a statement from the person who sold the yacht?
Who will compensate moral damages caused by the lie spun into news, and backed by Globovision and Jose Domingo Blanco’s alleged gravitas?
Miss Isturiz says the journalists concerned are guilty of unethical conduct, declaring themselves “lords of the truth” when in reality they are a discredit to the profession.
Isturiz contrasts such unethical conduct with the same journalists’ alleged defense of the right to inform and freedom of expression, pushing into the background their duty to the general public and truth.
“False information must be corrected spontaneously, immediately within 48 hours.”
However, the student says she isn’t asking for the right to reply, and prefers to appeal to Poleo and Blanco’s consciences.
“Freedom of expression isn’t under threat from the government, as many want us to believe … it is under threat from distorters, who place personal interests above the healthy, democratic and honorable exercise of journalism.” (Thursday, August 1, 2002)