Listening Post

The Clinic: Shaking up Chilean journalism

A satirical magazine is filling the vacuum left by the shortcomings of the country's mainstream press.

Last updated: 08 Feb 2014 08:25
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For more than 15 years, a Chilean satirical magazine called The Clinic has been filling the vacuum left by the shortcomings of mainstream news outlets.

What started out as a counter-cultural underground pamphlet in 1998 soon multiplied, and is now the go-to-source for Chileans seeking edgy commentary on social and political issues.

In a country where the media remained largely silent about the political and economic legacies of the country’s dictatorial past, the magazine’s surreal and absurdist humour - captured in its now iconic front pages - found a language through which to echo the spirit of the times: not with the militant rhetoric of the traditional Left: but with a finely tuned irony, edgy enough to engage a jaded yet angry society.

In a deeply conservative country, there is no politician it has not dared ridicule; no taboo it has not exposed: religion, sexuality, birth control, corruption, indigenous rights.

It lampoons Pinochet’s memory, as well as the entire cast of the current political elite, from the incoming left wing leader Michelle Bachelet to the blunder prone outgoing right wing president Sebastian Pinera.

It is now the most widely read and one of the most respected sources of political journalism in the country: a sign perhaps that Chile - and its media - may be moving on.

The Listening Post’s Marcela Pizarro reports on The Clinic, a magazine that was born in Santiago de Chile, but was conceived of in London.

Listening Post can be seen each week at the following times GMT: Saturday: 0830, 1930; Sunday: 1430; Monday: 0430.

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