In this blog I’ve tried to be as unbiased as possible, but some comments make me have my own say. On Sunday I posted some videos and bloggers reactions, comparing them with the mainstream media coverage, to U. S. President George W. Bush short visit to Colombia. A well-known blogger has criticized the bloggers “indifference” to this “important” visit. The comment appeared on a post in equinoXio magazine which claims that the visit was not that important.
I think the Bogotá bloggers’ indifference says bad things about this community. It had been 25 years the city wasn’t visited by an American president. The visit’s symbolic sense, its importance regarding Plan Colombia, war on drugs and FTA signing is undeniable. Nevertheless, very few bloggers dared to make citizen journalism. Everything was to be done, it was enough with going out to the street, make a coverage about the change in everyday life, taking pictures, shooting videos, interviewing people, etc., but just a handful of eager Bogotá people dared to face the issue. What was doing the rest of them? This is a negative outcome for Colombian blogs. Their role in the Colombian media landscape is very weak. And the blame goes not for mainstream media but the shyness and pasiveness of a lot of bloggers (compare the role of blogs in Colombia with other countries, where young bloggers compete against journalist in important events).
I think El Editor’s remarks are quite unfair and excessive (he lives in Europe). This is the way I replied to him there:
Editor, playing the devil’s advocate and reading what you’ve commented, don’t you think [you’re being] a little unfair? You can’t imagine the tension here, the helicopters flying just 50m above ground, the exaggerated security measures for a visit I don’t think it’s “historical” because there was rather few things to discuss. It wasn’t easy to go out to the street. The very Víctor Solano [a professional journalist and blogger at his spare time] ended up covering accidentally the demonstrations, which many thought weren’t going to go to those extremes.
It’s true, maybe there was some “indifference”, maybe because of the excessive trascendence given to it? Ain’t the opinions on the visit important, regardless the lack of photos and videos? Maybe someone had appointments, not everyone’s Sunday was that altered because Bush’s visit. Excuse me, but I think you’ve judged quite severely Bogotá bloggers. This is not France. Here anyone in the wrong place may end in a police tank. Not everyone is intended to make him/herself a hero amidst the democratic security. If it’s useful, in the name of everyone, we’re sorry. Of course, we could make it a lot better.
It’s a shame that El Editor, who wrote a very funny fake chronicle on Bush visit (it becomes the end of the world), can’t find enough the bloggers talk on the visit, as you can see with a quick search on Technorati, Flickr or YouTube. So, let’s see some videos on the demonstrations, let’s show the “poor” citizen coverage on the visit. But first, let’s see also the foreign MSM view too. This is a CNN almost unedited footage:
This short video shows demonstrators and people running away, as some shooting, allegedly from the Army, can be heard in the background.
This one looks like a slide show, but it’s pretty cool:
This other one, taken with a cellphone, show the concentration and some protesters yelling “Yankees, get out!”
And this is another view of the clashes
What a poor coverage! Shame on you, Colombian bloggers/vloggers/citizens/demonstrators!!! It’s true, as for citizen journalism, Colombian blogosphere has long a way to go, but it’s not so easy when the police is more likely to seize your camera for taking pictures of the demonstrations rather than avoiding vandals to loot and destroy businesses. That’s shameful, El Editor.