Tuesday, September 12, 2006

More blowback from "Martí Moonlighters" firing - UPDATED

In a column published in today's El Nuevo Herald, Ernesto Betancourt resigns his position as a contibutor to the paper claiming that Oscar Corral's article contains mischaracterizations and false comparisons. Betancourt who was the first director of Radio Martí says he "surprised" that this old debate has returned to the fore.

Mr. Betancourt explains that the only official U.S. positions transmitted by TV/Radio Martí are in the form of editorials that the stations receive from the Voice of America.

In accordance with the law, the rest of the programming must has the objective of offering to the people of Cuba a source for alternative information. All the other programs of Radio Martí are were left as subject to the norms emitted by the Director of the Voice of America with regards to balance and objectivity. Those norms still are in effect.
Interestingly, Betancourt writes today what Herald Watch pondered last night.
Therefore, it is totally incorrect to say, as is communicated in Oscar Corral’s article, that the aim of Radio and TV Martí is to undermine the communist government of Fidel Castro. If in Cuba there is no freedom of information and access to outside information undermines to the regime, it is fault of the regime. Not the alternative source of information.
Betancourt goes on to say that comparing the Martí Moonlighters to the case Armstrong Williams, as the ethics experts in Corral's piece do, is "spurious" since Williams...
"...specifically received a contract to promote a Bush administration program. At no point has it been demonstrated that the journalists from El Nuevo Herald have written anything promoting Radio or TV Martí or in response to directives that came from those organizations."
UPDATE: A full translation of Betancourt's editorial is up here.

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