Not All Life’s Lessons Can be Learned from Telenovelas

LatinaLista — This morning, it was revealed that Univision, the nation’s largest supplier of Spanish-language imported programming, got slapped with a record $24 million fine from the Federal Communications Commission.

It seems that Univision was lacking when it came to educational programming for children.

It’s no surprise since the network’s moneymakers are the Mexican-made telenovelas. Yet, according to the FCC, by law, all television broadcasters have to include at least 3 hours a week of educational programming for children.


Gaby Espino, one of the stars of the telenovela Mundo de Fierras
(Source: Univision)

According to an Associated Press article, The penalty involves charges that 24 Univision stations between 2004 and early 2006 circumvented guidelines on airing educational children’s programs by running soap operas aimed mainly at adults.

The stations had the audacity to say that because of a particular soap that had children as the main characters, it satisfied the FCC’s requirement. It didn’t matter that there still involved adult situations.

Don’t know how coincidental it is, but a quick check of the Univision homepage today revealed an advertisement for the children’s show “Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?” They advertised it showing every Saturday and Sunday — that satisfies two of the three hours/week — not very creative or imaginative programming for a television network.


Carmen Sandiego
(Source: Univision)

I will concede reaching teens through telenovelas that touch on the hard facts of life is no different than such English-language shows as the now cancelled OC or any of the CW shows, but small children need something more.

PBS or Nickelodian can’t and should not be the only source of bilingual programming for children.

And it is CREATIVE bilingual programming that this age needs. Not old reruns of a cartoon dubbed in Spanish.

If Univision was truly a community player, they would put some of their resources into programming that taps the unique imagination of today’s Latino pre-schoolers and elementary-age children.

And not import yet another program made for Latinos who live elsewhere.

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