Víctor Hugo Morales, best known for his work as a sports journalist, was dismissed from Argentina’s Radio Continental broadcasting station.
According to an official statement released by the station, the Uruguayan journalist committed “repeated breaches that altered the normal development of emissions,” while recording the programs “La Mañana” and “Competencia”.
During his last emission, Morales said that he “got sacked” amid what he called “a suffocating context for the Argentine democracy.” He later asseverated that Radio Continental, part of the Spanish Prisa Group, needed to preserve the Macri government’s advertising income, so that they “allign” with presidential interests.
Macri, associated by Morales with the Clarín Group, famed for its publications pitted against the Kirchner government, deplored the journalist’s words and said that they had a respectful relation before he became “a Kirchner fanatic”.
For many years Morales has presented diverse football shows, inlcluding alongside player Diego Armando Maradona while Macri was the president of soccer club Boca Juniors between 1995 and 2007. The Argentinian president said that the communicator even supported him then.
On Wednesday, the journalist led a march to the iconic Plaza de Mayo, in Buenos Aires, demanding answers for the mass firings of public workers. He also defended the media law established by former President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, pointing to the “678” case: a pro-‘K’ program broadcasted by a public channel, whose contract was not renewed by the new government.
“Return me the program and we forget everything,”
Some members of the “678” program went to the square, situated right in front of the Casa Rosada, Argentina’s presidential building. Amongst other political and media figures that supported the journalist were the leader of the association Madres de la Plaza de Mayo (an NGO which continues to look for children ‘disappeared’ during the military dictatorship), activist Hebe de Bonafini, representatives of the group La Cámpora (an Argentine political youth organization), journalists, and the former Federal Authority of Audiovisual Communication Services (Afsca) director, Martín Sabbatella, according to La Nación.
The Afsca was one of the bureaus that created as part of the media law during the Fernández de Kirchner government to avoid concentration or monopoly of media groups; something that clearly affected the Clarín group. When Macri became president, he intervened in both the Afsca and the Federal Authority for Information Technology and Communications (Aftic).
Nevertheless, there were other sectors that took advantage of the discussion to establish that the situation with the previous Kirchner governments was not too different. Eduardo Feinmann, recognized as a staunch opposer to the previous government, interviewed Morales on the Radio 10 station, daily Clarín reported. Feinmann interrupted Morales during his broadcast:
“I understand what you mean because I lived exactly the same with the previous government. (…) I was a dissenting voice in the government of Cristina (Fernández de Kirchner) and suffered the same, so I understand perfectly well.”
Hernán Lombardi, the head of the Federal Media System, confirmed that the journalist would be able to continue with three other programs broadcast on public radio.
— Víctor Hugo Morales (@vh590) January 15, 2016
Morales answered via Twitter calling him “hypocrite”, because he had been producing those programs for 15 years “for free”.