Telesur excels in Honduras coverage

Telesur logo.

TEXT OF STORY

Tess Vigeland: Scenes from the coup in Honduras have been broadcast around the world. But increasingly the story out of the Central American nation is censorship. The military government has detained reporters, stormed TV stations and taken broadcasts off the air. Still, one news outlet has distinguished itself with its coverage: Telesur, a network financed by Venezuela's Hugo Chavez and his allies. From the Americas Desk at WLRN, Marketplace's Dan Grech has more.


Dan Grech:Telesur was created five years ago as a leftist alternative to CNN En Espanol, the dominant network in the region. Telesur started out underfunded and understaffed.

But during the recent coup in Honduras, it has beat the competition with its up-to-date coverage. Marcelo Ballve is an editor at New America Media, a news service.

MARCELO BALLVE:This was the place to go if I wanted gritty, on the street footage from Honduras.

This anti-coup rally wasn't covered by many local media outlets, but it was on Telesur. Because of this kind of coverage, the military has blocked Telesur's signal inside Honduras.

But its newscasts can still be seen across Latin America. And Telesur videos have become the buzz on social media sites like Twitter and You Tube.

BALLVE:Before Telesur, you had CNN in Spanish, BBC in Spanish, but you didn't have a home-grown regional cable news channel. It introduces just another voice into the discourse.

Telesur relies on oil-rich Venezuela for most of its funding. But with Venezuela facing tight times, Telesur last month had to close bureaus in the US, Mexico and Brazil.

John Dinges is a journalism professor at Columbia University. He says Telesur's exposure in Honduras isn't likely to solve the network's financial woes.

JOHN DINGES: I don't know if it's going to make them any money. But it's certainly going to get them a bigger audience and a bigger slot on the cable networks that they appear on.

CNN remains the dominant network in the region, but Telesur may be catching up.

I'm Dan Grech for Marketplace.

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