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Mauritius Media at a Glance: 22 July 2009


A Bourgeois Ideologue

It's very rare that a single edition of a newspaper will expose so effectively the crass ideologue role of one of its journalists: this is precisely what the 22 July 2009 edition of the L'Express does to Stephane Saminaden.
On the occasion of the General Assembly of Air Mauritius, L'Express has published a whole page on the trials and tribulations of the company: Hedge Fund losses, decreasing passenger traffic. The various articles on the page include reactions from the trade union leaders in the company, the small share-holders, and funnily enough an "opinion" column by the journalist Stephane Saminaden, ending with the following paragraph: " Certains, au sein meme de la direction d'Air Mauritius, ont suggere que la voie de sortie aux crises perpetuelles serait de privatiser "Air Mauritius"." Clearly Saminaden agrees with "certains" on the board, and we know that that particular board is packed with private sector "barons".
Further along in the same newspaper, on the "Economie: entreprises et carrieres" page, Saminaden confirms his arrogant ultra-liberal ideology when he gives full support to the export industrialists who are always asking for more and more depreciation to boost their earnings in rupees. He writes: "On a beau tourner et retourner le probleme dans tous les sens, il demeure indubitable que Maurice a besoin de la depreciation pour vivre." He does not seem to be at all concerned about the effects of depreciation and inflation on the capacity of most people to "survivre". He goes further by actually pouring arrogant scorn on the painfully real effect of depreciation and inflation on the purchasing power of poor people. He writes: "On peut arguer que 1.2 million de Mauriciens ont, a traver l'inflation, subventionne une poigne d'industriels. Laissons cela aux "syndicalistes-savate-l'eponge"." He starts by saying something that is factually correct, and then dismisses it by attributing it to trade unionists who wear rubber flip-flops, and therefore are not worth listening to! Perhaps in his next opinion column, he will explain where the extra rupees that go to the sugar bosses, industrialists, and tourist hotel owners, when the rupee is depreciated, actually come from.