Barricada TV: a Free Television Station
Barricada TV is a free television station that broadcasts from the recovered IMPA (Argentine Metallurgical & Plastic Industries) factory, in Buenos Aires. It is a building with four floors, an entire block. I go in and ask for Barricada TV, and they tell me, “No, this is the Worker’s University. That must be at the community center, the entrance is at the other street.” I look for the other entrance, I’m greeted at the front desk, and I go up a dark staircase with yellow signs painted on the edges of the steps to the fourth floor. Right, I am in an industrial plant.
I get to Barricada TV. A room with a studio and a corner with a green and blue background and some recessed lighting fixtures for Barricada TV, with a small table and a couple of chairs. They broadcast from there. There is also another room with some couches and another big table to which three cameras are pointing, one for each mother. The people come and go connecting cables and setting up microphones, the debate-discussion program about economics is about to start. It is one of the few programs that broadcast live. Barricada TV broadcasts 24/7, with an antenna that does not reach very far, and through the Internet, with practically no budget and 30 to 40 people that devote themselves to it just for the sake of it.
Its content is very political. Luciana, the news anchor, tells me that they are trying to diversify a little more and get closer to the neighborhood. But the purpose of the project is to give the Argentine left-wing organizations and movements a voice, to represent those who are excluded in other media. Barricada TV hopes to be “a weapon of action for those who struggle” and to speak of what is not discussed on “the TV.” The power of the mass media concerning public opinion is undeniable. They glorify what isn’t important, hide what is, criminalize what is lawful, and legitimize what is unethical, all over the world. Omissions, misrepresentations, and exaggerations to the service… of whom? To whom does the media belong? In the Spanish State, for example, with scarce and valuable exceptions, the private media is dominated by the international right-wing, the large national fortunes, and the church. Not much needs to be said about the media that wastes public funds.
A newspaper, a television station, an Internet portal… they are free when they don’t have to be held accountable to a financier. At Barricada TV, the teams have been put together by people or collectives that have given them, they have the space thanks to IMPA, and the day-to-day expenses are borne by the people in the collective itself who set a very small fee. They told me that now they want to be eligible for some public grants, to be able to grow a little, to have one or two hired people… Will they achieve leaving their state of instability without betraying their principles?
Translated by Mayra Borgonovo and Adrienne McMillin