Cambio Magazine ceases publication…an economic or political decision?
Colombian investigative journalism lost an important contributor last month when Casa Editorial El Tiempo announced the restructuring of Cambio, a well recognized magazine which, from 1993, focused on investigative cases; a vast majority based on political corruption. (CNN covered the topic last month in an article entitled “Shutdown of Colombian magazine raises questions.”)
Grupo Planeta, which owns Casa Editorial El Tiempo, announced that Cambio was having financial difficulties, which led them to change Cambio’s circulation from weekly to monthly, cease the coverage of all investigative work and focus mainly on entertainment content.
Nonetheless, in the journalism circles in Colombia, very few believe Grupo Planeta’s arguments in changing Cambio’s editorial line since it was reported that, at the present year, it had generated close to $700,000 in advertisement. In Colombia, there exists the speculation that the decision to change Cambio was based on pressure by very influential politicians of President Alvaro Uribe’s government as well as economic interest in Grupo Planeta.
In 2009, Cambio published several investigative pieces which exposed the Colombian government. In the middle of 2009, Cambio revealed the first signs of new content from the military agreement between Bogota and Washington, for the use of seven military bases. In November of the same year, Cambio highlighted the increase of violence and the decline of Uribe’s security policy.
These are the main reasons why Colombian journalists believe that Cambio’s new structure obeys political reason; especially when:
- The presidential elections are in May (Uribe, the current president, is trying to change the constitution to allow him to be president for a third term).
- A license for a third national private television network will be granted by the Colombian government, in which Grupo Planeta is bidding.
- Journalists Rodrigo Pardo and Elvira Samper, who directed the editorial line of the printed publication, were fired the same day Cambio’s future was revealed.
Many blame the economic crisis for the closing of media networks in the US, but is it the same reason why Cambio ceased publication?