Confront The Guardian's lies over Latin America

London RCG comrades picket the Guardian, 21 December 2018

The Revolutionary Communist Group held a midday picket outside the offices of the Guardian and Observer newspapers on 21 December 2018. This was a protest against the blatantly hostile coverage of Venezuela, Nicaragua and, as always, Cuba, that these papers have carried out over the years. The prejudiced and ill-informed journalism that distinguishes these publications is a political attack on those nations which are attempting to oppose US, European and British imperialism. Moreover, the reports carried are bad journalism and completely fail to examine  where the opposition to socialist governments is coming from, how they are funded and what the policies and agendas are for reaction in Latin America. They fail to explain why the IMF and World Bank structural adjustment programs were so devastating for millions and why there is now an attempt to reimpose them.

The claims of the Guardian and Observer to 'a progressive viewpoint rooted in the facts' is hypocrisy. So is the boast that editorial independence is supported by the financial contributions of readers. While there is no doubt a strong constituency of contributing readers, the Guardian and Observer are in receipt of large streams of finance from the private sector.  The Guardian is owned by the Scott Trust which became a limited company in 2008 but still calls itself the Scott Trust – it is Scott Trust Limited. During a Treasury Select Committee hearing in February 2015 it emerged that The Guardian was the biggest recipient of HSBC advertising revenue, more than the Telegraph, Times etc. There is also a a considerable growth in advertising revenues, which doubled from the US in the year to 2014. On the Scott Trust Board sits Anthony Salz, a senior merchant banker vice chair of Rothschild and a director of NM Rothschild and Sons. Salz was head and senior manager of the law firm Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer. Freshfields clients include HSBC and it advised the bank when US authorities were investigating HSBC for drug money-laundering in Latin America – for which HSBC was fined $1.9bn. The chair of the Scott Trust Board is Alex Graham, a millionaire and former owner of a private media company.

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The protest outside of the Guardian/Observer glass tower was on a windy, largely empty weekday street but the picket noisily addressed the building. Passers-by read our leaflets, purchased our political newspaper and motorists pipped their horns in support. We were heard inside and one group of  employees came out and and asked about the picket. These  journalists hinted that there is, indeed, some disquiet about the editorial direction of the papers on Latin America. However, another individual stormed up to the picket and angrily accused it of lying about the links to HSBC. He said that he works on the economy section of the papers. Unfortunately we did not get his name but we did ask him to check our facts and we would like to hear from him when he has done his homework.

The picketers will return to challenge the claims of the Guardian/Observer on its Latin America coverage for as long as it sustains inaccurate and hostile reporting. We know that there are interests behind all the bourgeois press. 71% of national newspapers in the UK are owned by three companies and just five companies own 80% of local newspapers. All depend on advertising revenue and the claim to independence is phoney.

Join London RCG at our public meeting on 12 January 2019 - Which way for Latin America: Cuba or Bolsonaro's Brazil? Sign up to the Facebook event here for updates:

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