Yoko Taguchi

In “The Chavez Government and the Battle Over the Media in Venezuela,” Mark Dinneen analyzess the conflict between government and corporate media in Venezuela with dialectical discussions involving on-going debates, ideological perspectives and historical facts. Dinneen highlights the malicious abuse of media from corporations and governmental regimes reacting to the corporations’ abuse on media. After explaining the factional events of the media war in Venezuela, Dineen explores the historical context of the relationship between power and media all over the world. By pointing out the corporation’s hegemony over the media in Venezuela, Dineen censures social responsibility of corporation media. He writes that the coporations “denied the public access to crucial information about the dramatic political events,” they “received international condemnation” (35).

Also, Dineen develops the discussion among free expression. The anti-Chavez party protests his regime of governmental broadcast and censorship because it violates the law of free expression. As a counterargument, Dineen accentuates that the right of free expression has no power to ban the governmental regulation because it intends to repress the monopolized hegemony of corporations. He underscores that the dictatorship of expression is caused by not only governments but also commercial forces.

However, Dineen points out the governmental responsibility over the regulation of media. Dineen disapproves governmental legislation because their constitution is too abstract. He also reveals that Chavez’s severer control over media after the conflicts intensifies its inclination of dictatorship.

To the end, Dineen presents his hope on alternative media, which is community and social media. These are independent from neither government nor corporations. For example, online websites, newspapers and RCTV are the hoped force to maintain media democracy. Remaining issue among the community and social media is that they are extremely weak force lacking funds. Dineed expects them to be influential so that they can actually work in the crisis of media democracy.

Conclusion

Dinneen concludes the essay by emphasizing the importance of the expansion of community and social media in order to retain the healthy democracy in Venezuela. According to Dineed, Venezuelan polarized media forces form precarious balances and maintain potential danger of governmental dictatorship and commercial abuse of information. Therefore, Dineen emphasizes that the third party, community and social media, has a significant role to inspect the social justice. He underscores that the community and social media must have the responsibility for their accuracy and fairness of their information. Even though the community and social media have to face governmental limitations and contradictions between two polarized forces, Dineen highlights that the community and social media have the most potential of attaining the fairly democratized society in Venezuela.

Ideas Related to the Question of the Course

Several ideas presented in Dinneen’s essay are related to the course topic.

Corporations’ dominance over the media: Dinneen points out that the dictatorship of media is not only caused by government but also corporations under neo-liberalism. The traditional way of dictatorship is always caused by government; however, corporations hinder the democracy of media in Venezuelan case. Thus, Dinneen alerts thatpeople need to carefully inspect corporation’s dictatorship over the media.

Governmental legislation of media: Dinneen underscores the contradiction of governmental regulation of media in democratic country. He also emphasizes that Venezuelan policy of media lacks details so that there is a potential danger of manipulation of the law.

The rights of free expression: Dinneen highlights the manipulation of rights of free expression. He also suggests critical idea of free expression that, “if the media limits diversity and impoverishes public debate, its regulation may in fact serve to enhance freedom and democracy within it” (32).

Social responsibility: Dinneen strongly asserts that media have the responsibility of their information’s fairness and accuracy. He wonders the successful possibility of self-regulation.

The role of alternative media: Alternative media indicates not only media run by new groups but also denotes new technological media. The difference between political positions and types of broadcasting complicates the role of media. Dinneen; however, finds hope in the complexity because it can achieve pluralism of media hegemony.

New technology: Dinneen writes that “new technologies constantly stimulate competition and diversity, to offset concentration of ownership” (31). He implies that new technology can be the tool to constantly reform the polarized media forces so that they can achieve well-balanced and democratic media forces.

Developed Arguments

Dinneen strongly states that alternative media have to prioritize their independence. He explores different types of alternative media developed after the conflict. Because the Chavez government encourages the alternative media, it supports with the fund. Dinneen shows the anti-Chavez party’s point of view that is to suspect Chavez tacitly embraces his media homogenous block among alternative media. Even though the alternative media, which is supported by government, states they are in the independent states, “it does not provide critical, independent news coverage that holds government to account, nor deepens democratic debate by airing a diversity of opinion” (45). Thus, Dinneen emphasizes the importance of financial and influential independence of alternative media and states that the alternative media have to “see autonomy from the state as a major goal, and prioritizing community interests can led them to challenge government policies” (48).

Dinneen also presents the significance of specificity of media legislation. Chavez government’s media legislation, article 57 asserts that “all must assume responsibility for what they express, and cannot hide behind anonymity or convey messages that promote war, discrimination or religious intolerance” (38). Dinneen problematizes the sentence’s ambiguity because of the diverse interpretations that potentially cause legal abuse of human rights. Also, Lucien, an anti-Chavez activist, denounces that the severe penalty for the violation of this law shows “the government’s clear intention of curbing opposition opinion” (139). Because the interpretation relies too much on the judicial decision and allows manipulation of judicial power, Lucien disapproves the obscurity of the law. Showing both sides’ potential danger, Dinneen states that government should more specifically regulate media in order to “regulate the conduct of the media more effectively, to improve the quality and accuracy of the information it disseminates, extend public access to and participation in the media and to encourage social responsibility on the part of its owners and employees” (38-39). Because I am not a professional of Venezuelan media, I cannot easily assert how to specify the law. However, I learn from his article that specificity of legislation is critical in order to fairly and effectively conduct the law.

Where to Find the Essay

I found the essay, “The Chavez Government and the Battle Over the Media in Venezuela” in the Ikeda Library Database of Soka University of America.

Dinneen, Mark. The Chavez Government and the Battle Over the Media in Venezuela. Asian Journal of Latin American Studies. Vol. 25 Issue 2, p27-53.04, 18, 2012.

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