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How the Media Misrepresents Argentina
Most of the media coverage surrounding Argentina has dealt with the country’s economic struggles, its crime rate, and, following the recent World Cup, its soccer team. The misrepresentation of Argentina by the media is evident due to the fact that negative coverage far outweighs the positive, giving the public a one-dimensional perception of this South American country.

More than a Soccer Nation

Beyond the financial crisis, much of the recent media coverage regarding Argentina has centered around the country’s World Cup run. Soccer is an immense source of national pride and a beacon of hope for many Argentinian fans, particularly during hard economic times. But soccer, while deeply engrained within the national fabric and heavily covered by the media, represents just one aspect of the diverse nation.

Portraying Economic Crisis in the Country

Argentina’s economy has far from met the expectations associated with market-friendly President Mauricio Macri. The value of the Argentine peso plummeted in April, resulting in a $50 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund. This, coupled with high inflation, has brought persistent economic hardship to the country and poses a serious threat to Macri’s “zero poverty” campaign promise.

Much of the media coverage surrounding Argentina has focused heavily on the economic crisis and the crime associated with it. While the crisis is prevalent and a resolution is much needed, the rampant and disproportionate coverage of the crisis goes to show just how the media misrepresents Argentina. In doing so, the media taint the perception of the country and fails to portray the true image of Argentina, one of an improving economic and social condition.

Economic and Social Progress

In 2017, poverty in Argentina decreased by 4.6 percent and is currently at 25.7 percent, according to official estimates. Prior to the Macri presidency, transparency about Argentina’s poverty was scarce. The publishing of official statistics only began in 2016, after being halted by the former populist government in 2013. Macri has not only strived for zero poverty, but he has established the proper balances to hold his administration accountable, something that was not the case for Argentina’s recent past.

Macri has faced the delicate task of reducing Argentina’s poverty rate while also working to alleviate a large budget deficit incurred by prior administrations. Macri’s administration has focused on reducing this deficit with the help of the International Monetary Fund and the implementation of public-private partnerships. With private companies financing long-term infrastructure contracts, Argentina expects to attract $26.5 billion in investment by 2022, reducing pressure on the budget but also contributing to the fall in poverty through the creation of thousands of steady jobs.

The citizens of Argentina have also exhibited a strong commitment to social progress, pushing landmark legislation to the floor of Congress, the Senate and the offices of President Macri. However, media coverage of these events is brief if existing at all, failing to show a highly positive dimension of Argentina.

Justina’s Law

News that the Chamber of Deputies (lower house of National Congress) passed a grassroots piece of legislation that makes 44 million citizens organ donors was seldom reported. The official increase in donors will depend on how many citizens choose to opt out, but this legislation will undoubtedly ensure the survival of thousands of patients that are in need of organ transplantation. With the approval of this law, also called the Justina’s Law, Argentina would join the ranks of France and Netherlands in this landmark legislation.

While it is typical to hear for the negative aspects of Argentina’s economy and crime, the work being done to solve these issues or the positive impacts that the Argentine people themselves are having on their country is rarely discussed.

Though it may seem that the misrepresentation of Argentina in the media has little effect on the country’s economic and social outlook, this is far from the truth. Macri’s plan for foreign investment depends heavily on the perception of Argentina as a viable place for growth. The current administration’s commitment to accountability and poverty reduction, as well as social progress, show the world that the country is trending in the right direction.

– Julius Long

Photo: Flickr

Argentina's Poverty Status
In 2013, Argentina’s President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner came under intense scrutiny when she announced that the country’s poverty rate was 4.7 percent. However, a recent report by the Instituto Nacional de Estadística y Censos (INDEC) closed the three-year gap revealing that close to a third of the population is living below the poverty line.

Argentina’s Poverty Status Based on Statistics
With a vibrant Spanish culture and colossal landscape, Argentina’s population sits just shy of 44 million. However, this nation is faced with severe poverty rates and economic inflation. During the reveal of the 2016 second quarter statistics; 32.2 percent of the population is currently experiencing household poverty at 23.1 percent, 4.8 percent below the household poverty line. Unemployment within the population also remains a threat with open unemployment rate reaching 9.3 percent meanwhile the underemployment rate was 11.2 percent

Homelessness a Possible Threat
With the population being plagued with Argentina’s poverty status, homelessness becomes a threat to the nation’s indigent. The total urban population of Argentina is 27.2 million and consists of 8.7 million households. Statistics of the second quarter reveal that 2 million households, including 8.7 million people are below the poverty line. Within the group, 45,000 households are living in poverty inclusive of 1.7 million homeless individuals.

Reaching Zero Poverty
There will be difficulty in reaching President Mauricio Macri’s zero poverty goal. The inflation rate in Argentina has risen to 40.5 percent since April 2016 following the three-year non-disclosure. The government intends to transfer the control of economic factors to the private sector from the public sector. Policies are aiming for a laissez-faire approach which allows for transactions between private parties devoid of government intervention.

One Forbes magazine contributor presents President Macri’s revelation of Argentina’s poverty statistics as heroic and the basis for the return of neoliberalism. “What we are starting to have in Argentina are real statistics. What we had until a few months ago was a fiction with no reality. It was a manipulation,” said Macri.

Progress in Process
Ban Ki-moon, the U.N. secretary-general, commended the Argentine Government Council for their support in international affairs and their commitment to sustainable development. The country has made great strides in tackling gender inequality as well as maintaining their commitment to the Paris Agreement.

President Macri acknowledges the present conditions of the country and moves in hopes that he would be appraised on his efforts to reduce the current figures. “This is our reality and I want to be evaluated on whether or not I was able to reduce poverty from now on,” said Macri.

Shanique Wright

Photo: Flickr