CVM opposes WIPR privatization bill
By John McPhaul
Members of the CitizenVictory Movement (CVM) voiced their oppositionThursday to House Bill 2564, which seeks to create a law to transfer assets of the Puerto Rico Corporation for Public Broad- casting, known as WIPR, to a non-profit organization. The group also expressed solidarity with the employees and union members of the public corporation, who demonstrated in front of the island Capitol in Puerta de Tierra on Thursday.
“The position of the Citizen Victory Movement and its agenda is firm: no to the privatization of our public media,” said Pedro Muñiz, a television execu- tive and member of the Communications Network, in a written statement. “Past administrations have bled WIPR to death, to the point that the [Corporation for Public Broadcasting] Board does not want to allocate a budget. While [advertising agency] KOI has been paid $84 million for distorting reality, WIPR, which fulfills an essential function for the people, is allocated an insufficient budget.”
The Communications Network, part of the CVM’s network of knowledge and talent and its “network of networks” organizational structure, presented in May through Facebook Live a proposal in which funds from other agencies destined for advertising contracts would be redirected so that WIPR would produce the official publicity of the commonwealth government agencies, apart from establishing alliances with the Department of Education to develop curricular integration pro- grams, returning WIPR to its origins as an educational station. The proposal also contemplates diversifying the programming offerings of WIPR and WIPM as two separate channels.
“Public media are more necessary today than ever, given the poor cultural offering of commercial media,” said José “Papo” Coss, a social communicator and member of the CVM’s communications staff. “Achiev- ing Puerto Rican radio and television, focused on our cultural values, represents an imperative. Privatization will only benefit the economic interests of big capital.”
The CVM alleged that House Bill 2564 assures that it will sell WIPR assets without a development plan and will take funds from the Lucy Boscana Dramatic Workshop and the Radio AM Dramatic Workshop. According to the bill, the central government will al- locate $1 million annually, but the public corporation will not be considered a government agency, but rather a non-profit entity.