“We have the deep conviction of fighting until the last consequences to avoid the closure of Télam, to protect the work of our colleagues and, above all, to protect the right to communication, the right to freedom of expression of the entire Argentine society” .

This is how Argentine journalist Maria da Laura Silva defined, when Brazil in factthe disposition of news agency workers Telam in fighting against the closure of the company, initiated by the ultra-liberal government of Javier Milei in the early hours of this Monday (4).

After the mobilization of workers, that same day, an assembly defined the next steps of resistance: the maintenance of a camp in front of the building and the independent site We are Telamto distribute free journalistic content to vehicles that depend on the public agency to bring information to the outskirts and interior of the country.

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“It will be a free information service that we workers will make available so that citizens as a whole and colleagues from different media outlets can access this information, download it and use it”, says the journalist.

The workers of Telam They have a strong mobilization capacity and have already resisted the dismissal of 357 workers, just over 50% of the company’s total permanent positions, around 700 people. The measure was announced in 2018, during the Maurício Macri government, but was prevented by workers.

Based on this experience during the Macri government, Argentine journalist Martín Piqué points out that the legal strategy will be important to reverse Javier Milei’s attacks on Telam. “During Macri’s administration, many dismissals were reversed by the labor courts. The government is making legal errors and part of the resistance is through the courts, but this must always be accompanied by enormous mobilization.”

One of the points defended by the unions is that the decree that recreated the Telam in 2002, it established that any eventual closure of the company must be voted on by the National Congress.

Piqué worked as deputy policy manager at Telam between 2020 and 2023, when he coordinated the agency’s Politics, International Policy and Economics departments and now works on radio AM 530, radio das Mães da Praça de Maio and follows the situation of the public agency as a union activist, affiliated with Sinpreba.

He considers that the closure of the agency affects the right to information in Argentina, because in addition to capillarity, the Telam specialized in coverage ignored by commercial press vehicles, especially violations committed by the Argentine civil and military dictatorship (1976-1983) and labor conflicts.

“Most of the other media do not follow the trials of crimes against humanity opened against the genocides of the dictatorship, nor labor conflicts, particularly when they affect the media itself. In a threatening context, with the risk of massive layoffs in the public and private sectors, the disappearance of Telam serves the destruction of the State and industry that Milei proposes.”

“I felt a lot of anger and sadness”

Maria Laura has worked at the public news agency since 2011 and learned, on Sunday night, of the movement of police forces around the company’s central office, in the San Telmo neighborhood, in Buenos Aires. After receiving reports from colleagues on the night shift, she immediately went to the agency’s headquarters, as a leader of Sinpreba, the capital’s press union.

Just before midnight, a truck parked in front of the company’s entrance and police officers from the Argentine National Force got out with the metal bars used to block the entrance to the building. “We, as union leaders and colleagues from the internal workers committee, decided to stay inside the building to protect the public assets of the company. Telam and its historical archive. What I felt was a lot of anger and a lot of sadness due to the violence with which Javier Milei’s government imposes its decisions”, he reported to Brazil in fact.

In addition to the office where the main editorial office of the Telam, two other company buildings in Buenos Aires were also surrounded, one administrative and the other with historical collections. After a meeting, union delegates decided to leave the buildings and called for a protest in front of the company’s main headquarters. The seven-day temporary suspension announced by Javier Milei of Télam services expires next Sunday (9).

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Editing: Rodrigo Durão Coelho

Source: www.brasildefato.com.br

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