Published: Wednesday 15 June 2005

Telesur Latin America

The us has the cnn, while the Arab world can watch Al Jazeera or American-financed Al Iraqiya in Iraq. Now, an initiative pushed by Hugo Chvez, the president of Venezuela, will give Latin America a regionwide television station -- Telesur -- that is aimed at "counteracting the media dictatorship of the big international news networks"."A venture that involves Argentina, Cuba, Brazil and Uruguay," but is largely financed by Venezuela, Telesur will have a decidedly Latin feel, says its director Aram Aharonian. The station, scheduled to begin broadcasting in July 2005, will show long documentaries about landless peasants in Brazil or indigenous movements in the Andes while also offering nitty-gritty reports about politics and sports.

Telesur journalists talk of an "antihegemonic network", a not-so-veiled reproach to the us media. Anchors on Telesur -- in Spanish, 'television of the south' -- will include journalists such as Ati Kiwa, a Colombian Indian who dresses in the traditional white robes of her Arhuaco tribe.

"This is not just my dream, but the dream of many journalists in Latin America, that we will see our own reality on the air," says Aharonian, an Uruguyan journalist who has lived in Venezuela since 1986. "We want to see ourselves through television, showing the diversity and richness."

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