By Adriana Robreño
Havana, June 16 (Prensa Latina) – The Latin American Information Agency Prensa Latina celebrates its 61st anniversary today as an alternative voice against the circulation of faKe news and media manipulation.
This is how voices from different parts of the world ratify it, adding to the congratulations for the more than six decades of this medium that maintains -as its president, Luis Enrique González-, an anti-imperialist, Latin American editorial line, attached to the truth, while fake news spread more and more.
Precisely, says journalist Gustavo Robreño, who was director of Prensa Latina between 1973 and 1984, the agency arises out of the need to counter propaganda campaigns against Cuba, but also against progressive processes in the continent.
Currently, despite the fact that so much time has passed, the lies against the island persist. Thus, the obligation to face disinformation campaigns against Cuba and other nations remains intact, warns Robreño.
In this context, Pedro Villalba, director of the Center for Our American Studies in Bolivia, congratulated Prensa Latina for its 61 years and for always bringing the truth to the world, for “liberating our peoples with information.”
From France, the Cuba Linda solidarity association described the voice of the peoples’ agency as one which fights for justice and for a better world for all.
This path to carry an alternative message to counter the hegemonic media began in January 1959, because after the triumph of the Cuban Revolution, a media campaign against the process led by Fidel Castro was launched from abroad.
To end the prevailing lie, the newly-established Cuban government convened in January 1959 some 400 journalists from around the world to the so-called Operation Truth, a meeting where Fidel Castro expressed the relevance of having the means to show the truths of Cuba and all of Latin America.
Thus, a few months after that gathering, Commander Ernesto Che Guevara and Argentine journalist Jorge Ricardo Masetti founded Prensa Latina, an agency that transmitted its first information on June 16, 1959.
The new communication space was supported from the beginning by prestigious professionals, including Rodolfo Walsh, also from Argentina, Carlos María Gutiérrez from Uruguay, and Gabriel García Márquez from Colombia.
Masetti, who was the first general director, defined the editorial profile of the medium as ‘objective but not impartial’, because, he said, you cannot be impartial in the face of good and evil.
With this premise, its journalists have informed the world about the main events in politics, the economy, science, technology, culture or sport at a global level, even at risk to their lives.
Its correspondents have been present in coups d’etat like the one in Chile, 1973, in wars like the one in Syria, in invasions like the ones carried out by the United States on Grenada or Panama and even in the most recent Covid-19 pandemic.
As the Cuban intellectual Abel Prieto said on occasion of the 60 years of the Latin American agency: “In this very troubled planet, where the extreme right is gaining strength and racism, fascism, xenophobia are growing, it is very important to have an agency that represents emancipation and the idea that culture and freedom must always go together.”
With this intention, Prensa Latina is immersed – as in a fight of David against Goliath – in a competition against the large information transnationals, which surpasses it in resources and technology, in addition to daily circumventing the consequences of the United States blockade against Cuba.
The siege of Washington, ssys the directors of the Latin American agency, pursues financial objectives and hinders the work of its correspondent offices abroad.
Despite this situation, more than 400 news dispatches are produced daily in Spanish, English, Portuguese, Russian, Italian and French which, together with radio and television services and its publishing house, the largest in the country, makes the agency one of the main multimedia production centres in Cuba.
Its scope is also supported by the impact on social networks, used in campaigns similar to those that gave rise to the agency, highlights the president, Luis Enrique González.
Today, says Gonzalez, the challenge for Prensa Latina is the same as it was 61 years ago, to spread the truth with its own voice against disinformation.
Prensa Latina, slightly edited for English by TSB