For the past two years, Argentina’s state broadcaster has been trying to broadcast English-language propaganda to the residents of the Falkland Islands, the British South Atlantic Territory claimed by the Latin American nation, but its efforts have not exactly been a success.
Irrelevant, uninteresting and sometimes even unintelligible, the “Boletín Malvinas” – a product of Radiodifusión Argentina al Exterior (RAE) – is a textbook example of how not to do effective propaganda.
The show may have been going two years, but there is little evidence it has had any effect, or that anyone is indeed listening. Taking a listen to recent editions, it is easy to see why.
The show features a presenter reading the news in a strong Argentinian accent, and the stories reported say a lot more about the state of press freedom in Argentina than anything else.
Last Friday’s edition included President Kirchner meeting ministers, President Kirchner buying a train simulator, President Kirchner’s anointed successor being praised for an election pledge, and President Kirchner mocking an opposition candidate.
There was also, naturally, a report on Argentina’s claim over the “Malvinas” which went into great detail over UN resolutions and discussions on “decolonising”.
It also doesn’t help that the programme goes out at midnight, when most islanders are presumably in bed.
Argentine news site Télam reports RAE’s Marcelo Ayala as saying: “No one in Argentina doubts that the Malvinas are part of our country and therefore we have an obligation to keep the inhabitants informed.”
He said the broadcasts were an attempt to “break the media siege” around the islands, where Argentine TV signals cannot penetrate, and “guarantee the inhabitants a right to information in the English language.”
Information broadcast to the “English-speaking Argentinians” in previous editions included stories about trade surpluses, transgender rights and many, many more stories on how wonderful President Kirchner is.
Given the time it is broadcast, perhaps the odd islander may listen in, but purely as a soporific.
Ayala says: “There is a global agenda dominated by news agencies and manufacturers of content who fit our country into a predetermined profile.
“Our task is to show our own reality, from politics to the host of cultural activities.”