Saturday
October 25, 2014

CBA24N executive Esteban Falcón talks to the Herald

Thursday, January 30, 2014

‘Cablevisión wants to keep the monopoly of news production’

By Federico Poore
Herald Staff
Esteban Falcón is the head of the Radio and Television Services (SRT) of Córdoba’s National University (UNC), a provincial conglomerate formed by Channel 10 and news channel CBA24N. This week, Falcón accused cable giant Cablevisión, a unit of the country’s largest media conglomerate Clarín Group, of not including CBA24N in its channel-grid — even though it was required to do so by law.

What is your specific complaint against Cablevisión?

Apparently, Cablevisión has modified its cable grid in Córdoba City in a unilateral decision without consulting us. Not only did they not include news channel CBA24N in their analog service — although a court order mandated the company to do so — they also moved (the UNC-owned) Channel 10 from the number 9 spot to channel 15. We had complained in the past about this situation in the digital service — and now they’re failing to comply with the law in the basic package, too! We’re glad Paka Paka, Telesur and INCAA TV finally arrived to the cable-channel grid, but in some places we’re still pretty far from perfect.

Where were broadcast channels placed in Córdoba’s grid before this week?

Channel 8 (Telefe’s relay station in Córdoba) was located on number 7, Channel 10 in spot number 9 and Channel 12 (the local relay station of Clarín Group’s Canal 13) was on channel 13.

And what has happened now?

They took Channel 12 down to number 11, Channel 8 to spot number 13 ... and we were taken to channel 15, a decision that lacks any logic.

Have you filed a complaint with the AFSCA media watchdog?

We filed an informal petition, telling the Córdoba and Buenos Aires City AFSCA offices about the situation. But we still haven’t heard from them.

Tell me about CBA24N. Is any Cablevisión subscriber able to see the channel?

We’re only on the TDA (the government-sponsored Open Digital Television programme). Cablevisión has been refusing to incorporate the station for more than two years now, violating not only Resolution 296 (passed by AFSCA in 2010) but also Article 65 of the Broadcast Media Law that forces them to include all university-sponsored channels. What is more: we beat the company in the courts with a ruling in the first instance that was confirmed by an appeals court on December 27. They now may argue that the 20-working-day span has not yet started — as courts are on summer break — but we thought that now they’ve decided to change the channel-grid they would be ready to follow the court’s orders.

Although they are both operated by the UNC, Channel 10 is a general TV channel while CBA24N is a 24-hour news channel...

That’s right, Channel 10 began its first transmission on May 11, 1962, so it has already completed 52 years of existence. It is making a huge bet on local content, unlike Channel 8 and Channel 12 that mostly repeat content from the Buenos Aires-based stations. We have 19 hours of in-house production daily.

Do you believe there’s any connection between the company’s decision to not include those channels and some kind of media protection toward the provincial government led by Governor José Manuel De la Sota? His police forces were engulfed by scandal after UNC-based stations revealed a drug-trafficking scheme in the district.

No, I think they’re refusing to include our news channel because they want to maintain the monopoly of news production in the province, with Channel 12, Radio Mitre and (newspaper) La Voz del Interior. They don’t want to risk that privilege with a measure taken by their cable company.

@fedebillie

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