Rodrigo Reyes (USA/Mexico)
Memories Of The Future
Natalia Almada (USA/Mexico)
Everardo Gonzalez (Mexico)
Ryan Suffern (USA/Guatemala)
Pamela Yates (USA/Guatemala)
Tierra adentro (2012)
Relata el exterminio que emprendió el Ejército Argentino en 1879 bajo el nombre de “Conquista del Desierto”. La campaña tuvo como objetivo de exterminar a la Nación Mapuche y Ranquel.
“The Media in Venezuela and Bolivia: Attacking the “Bad Left” From Below”, written by Pascal Lupien, discusses media representation of government supporters in Venezuela and Bolivia. In both of these countries the leaders are supported by large numbers of the population, which poses a problem for the anti-government camp, who cannot contest the elections without criticizing the democratic system that they themselves are a part of. Instead, they turn their criticism to the people who support the government and use different rhetorical methods to discredit the legitimacy of their votes.
The paper begins with exposition that briefly discusses the problem of high market concentration for media outlets in Latin America that gives those who control these media outlets large amounts of power to shape public opinion. It then clarifies the mechanism by which these media outlets shape public opinion, that being the process of framing wherein the reporting and analysis of events is done so in a way which contains an inherent structure of interpretation. The critical aspects of the paper are also introduced when the idea of freedom of speech is introduced as being in conflict with the small number of media outlets which dominate public debate, as well as “plurality of ideas” being central to a well-functioning democracy.
The article then discusses multiple case studies which discuss the way which private media in Venezuela and Bolivia have attacked the voter base for Hugo Chavez and Evo Morales. Following the elections of both of these leaders, private news media claimed that the followers of these two leaders didn’t know what they were voting for. The former elites in these countries, not accustomed to the idea of sharing political power with people who were not part of this established elite, claimed that the leaders held people under control which was mystic or religious. In addition, they claimed that these same followers were less concerned about making their political decisions based upon rational self-interest, but upon the immediate benefits that they would receive from going to the polls and voting these leaders into office. To contrast this, the anti-government voters were characterized as hard-working, rational, and more worthy of deciding who would be elected.
The paper also identifies racial stereotypes used in both Bolivia and Venezula to characterize government supporters. In Venezuela, the pro-government forces are characterized by private media as being of darker skin, which brings the Indigenous and Afro-Venezuelan communities into the pro-government camp in the eyes of the medium’s target audience, the white-skinned elite. By playing off of the tensions of an already divided society, this racist portrayal is meant to make white-skinned elites fearful of the newly empowered lower class, and make political opposition to the government less about civil society and more about personal safety.
In Bolivia, the use of race as a framing tool by media is centered largely upon the indigenous population. Reforms to the Bolivian constitution gave indigenous communities a degree of autonomy to enforce traditional forms of community justice and required that leaders elected in indigenous communities speak the language native to that community. During the approval process for the changes to the Bolivian constitution, Bolivian media portrayed the indigenous population as a group which would challenge the sovereignty of the state and impose indigenous religious practices upon all Bolivians. The societal tensions fueled by this portrayal erupted into violence against indigenous people, including beatings in public squares, which were not covered by private media.
The article concludes with an overview of the efforts made by the Bolivian and Venezuelan governments to increase plurality of voices in media. The first is increasing creation of state media, giving more space for pro-government messages to be heard, though this type of diversification tends to lead towards increasingly aggressive messages. The second is socially-controlled media, which is meant to develop civil society in order to ease the tensions between pro and anti-government factions. The third is the development of community-generated television and radio, which has been done to a large extent in Bolivia, which has had a network of miner’s radio stations since the 1940’s, and where community-generated radio content still has widespread distribution. In Venezuela, more emphasis is put on developing television content, and the government offers workshops and equipment for those who want to produce television content, however, though these community TV stations receive some funding from outside organizations, they are mostly supported by government funding in order to stay operational.
Selective sourcing is a topic which is featured prominently in this paper that we’ve also covered in class. In the coverage of Bolivia’s new constitution, the need for elected leaders in indigenous areas to speak the local langue was analyzed as “unfair” and “worrying” though analysis on the opposite side that indigenous people speak Spanish was not addressed as a topic of equal consternation, because the experts who were meant to provide perspective on the issue were not unbiased but were meant to echo the ideas promoted by that medium.
The idea of “The People” is particularly contentious in this paper because the anti-government faction wants to discredit the leaders who were put into power by large majorities. This is clearly a decision made by “The People”, but no wanting to admit that they are in the minority, label the supporters of government as “the masses” or “the mob”, to remove the connotation of an engaged citizenry and replace it with that of an unthinking mass which doesn’t think beyond its immediate benefit beyond the polling place.
Lupien’s discussion of the efforts made by the Venezuelan government to increase the amount of community-generated content will become less and less of relevant policy choice if high-speed internet access grows in Venezuela. In developed and developing countries around the world, the amount of user generated content grows vaster every day. In the developed world, there are newspapers which are published entirely online, and have little restrictions put upon them by publishers due to the rule of Net Neutrality. In China, the internet is becoming such a venue for media pluralism that the Chines government has begun massive censorship in order to silence dangerous dissenting opinions. If access to this venue of information continues to increase, than the problem of finding a widespread publisher of political ideas will take care of itself.
The policy decision of increasing outlets of media controlled by the state is an inherently bad idea because of the fear which the anti-government faction feels towards the new populist government. Beneath the messages contained in the media coverage broad cast by private media lies a message that the establishment is deeply fearful of losing all that it has as it becomes the minority group in society. The increase in aggressive rhetoric that has come with increased government presence in public media could lead to increased societal instability, risking the very thing which the government wants to protect through putting its message into broadcast media.
I found this essay through JSTOR using my SUA access and using the search terms “media” and “Latin America”, but had to use EBSCOhost credentials when I couldn’t access it through JSTOR itself.
Lupien, P. 2013. The Media in Venezuela and Bolivia: Attacking the “Bad Left” From Below. Latin American Perspectives 40 3: 226-246, doi:10.1177/0094582X13476004
In “Redefining comparative analyses of media systems from the perspective of new democracies,” authors Claudia Mellado and Claudia Lagos examine the “political, economic, social, cultural, and technological factors” that have influenced the media in Latin America (2). Specifically, they focus on Chile after Pinochet’s regime to analyze media is developing new forms of democracy (4). Mellado and Lagos analyze multiple definitions from various researchers on how the media works. They claim that there are three factors that influence the news production. They are “the individual, organizational, and the social level of influences” (3). In Mellado and Lagos’ studies, they found a theory by researchers Hallin and Mancini, stating “that media systems function according to the social and political systems in which they work” (5). But how does one take all the factors of a government and societal circumstances from around the world, and analyze the media on the same scale? Media is one country is completely different to that in another based off its development and constitution. This conflict led Hallin and Mancini to develop a new definition of media and democracy, and labeled the many variations into different categories.
Latin America has “low levels of democratic development” and since the categories made by Hallin and Mancini apply to certain democracies, it was difficult to explain media under different dictatorships and political structures. In Latin America and most democracies, presidential regimes, discourse strategies, and movements, are all determined by the media. The media is the peoples’ access to stay connected and in touch to what is happening around them. But what we find in Latin America is “political parallelism.” Political Parallelism is “control over the media by private interests regarding political alliances and ambitions that use the media for political purposes” (12). In Chile’s case, the media has assisted with political power and also produced and defended oligopolies (12). The media within Chile also reflects on class. There are low literacy rates in Latin America, making it so only those who could read would be the only virtually ones consuming newspapers. As a result of this divide, the press would focus their target audience to those who were literate. Meanwhile, this audience was also the same group of people who supported and helped fund press projects for political strategies” (12). This brings us to another argument within the media: the audience. In order to make profit, the media has to tend to a specific group or audience. In the political standpoint of news, this means that the media has to market their product to the majority of voters and the popular audience- those who participate in the public agenda and the public space.
Continuing, public space and freedom of speech have a huge influence over the media. In Chile, “the Constitution guarantees freedom of speech without prior censorship, the right of assembly, and the right to demonstrate” (14). However, freedom of speech isn’t really “free” because of the “crimes of opinion and information.” There are criminal penalties plus civil penalties, in addition to the military branch having influence in decisions, but at an inconsistent rate (14). The laws against freedom of speech are generally used to punish individuals for criticism against the government, including in forms of media. “In some cases…some governments have used illegal mechanisms to control the media” (15). Most regimes hold power over the media by owning a state TV station, and also being very conservative with their advertising. In many Latin America countries, the governments have increased their resistance against unions and citizen participation” (16). Censorship on the press was also imposed to prevent the circulation of media in state emergencies. Broadcasters, communicators, and journalists were persecuted, arrested, and killed by military officials to prevent information from going viral.
In Mellado and Lagos’ final remarks they leave the reader with optimism over Chile and their media reforms. They claim that Chile is the second or third best ranked in freedom of press, however this is contradicted with the violence against journalists during protests and demonstrations in 2011.
This article related to a lot of points that have been brought up in our class. The essay discusses how media shapes democracy but also how there are many types of classifications of democracy, so it makes it difficult to put it into categories. This article discussed censorship, and how it is regulated by the government for manipulation in polls and voting. What I found interesting is the fact that many Latin American countries do have Freedom of Speech in their Constitution. But they really don’t. There are loophole laws that cause people to be penalized when they break these “crimes of opinion.” So really, freedom of speech is inexistent.
I also found it interesting how authors Mellado and Lagos broke down different forms of government democracies and analyzed their variations of media and their influence. Media matters on its audience. Although I already was aware of this, I never took into account that a certain group or class could be a target audience because they are the ones supporting the media itself. Media then becomes something that isn’t just controlled by the government, but those who can afford it.
Over the past week, our class has been discussing media and democracy on a macro scale. This article did the same. It broke down different types of democracies in attempt to categorize it in how the media ties back into it. Since all governments have different circumstances and regulations, identifying what type of media it has is difficult. But the main idea I got from this article was that the media is influenced by the people and their influence. If the people don’t have influence, then the government forces that influence with military and extreme censorship and regulation. Without the people, the media is already manipulated. This works for any type of government.
I found my article on the library database Academic Search Complete.
MELLADO, CLAUDIA, and CLAUDIA LAGOS. “Redefining Comparative Analyses Of Media
Systems From The Perspective Of New Democracies.” Comunicación Y Sociedad 26.4 (2013): 1-24. Academic Search Complete. Web. 11 Jan. 2015
Report of “The Ambiguous Meanings of Latin American Populisms”
What are the central arguments of the essay and what is or are the conclusion/s the author comes to?
Populism is an idea that centers poor or powerless citizens or supports working-class or peasant, for example. This paper does many things here; it mainly reviews the study of Latin American populisms briefly. It compares existing theories of Latin American populisms with recent works of Latin American populism. Also, it draws some common characters from the populism leaders in Latin America. He writes his opinion about the populist leadership, why Juan D. Peron got supported by working-class people. He requests further research for the area of Latin American populisms in conclusion. “This article, through a discussion of recent case studies, presents a new approach to the study of Latin American populisms,” about the appeal of populist leaders and autonomous expectations and actions of followers.
A few arguments this essay gives comments on the study of Latin American populisms. One is that although Gino Germani supposed that populism was a phase in the transition to urbanization and industrialization in Latin America in the 1930s and 1940s, industrialization started before populists movement started in some countries. Germani pointed out that in the 1930s and 1940s Argentina, Brazil, and Mexico was in the process of urbanization and economic development. Hence he offered one hypothesis that populism is a phase in which the old system changes into modernity. However, recent scholarship doubts his hypothesis; for example, Ian Roxborough shows that while industrialization started in Brazil before the 1930s actually, populist politics were held from the late ‘40s till 1954. In addition, some Latin American countries such as Peru and Ecuador do not have any fit between populism and industrialization. Judging from this counter-examples, Germani’s hypothesis might not be right that all countries of Latin America turned out to be modernized throughout the process of populism.
Rather, populism is the result from dependent economic development and an expansion of exclusive political systems. Latin America late in the nineteenth century and early in the twentieth century had the form of oligarchical social order; only a few privileged people can operate politics as they want, and the majority of the citizens were excluded from the political decision-making. During the 1920s and ‘30s, however, the growing foreign capital from the United States made industrialization launched around Latin America. Supported by the U.S., Latin America integrated into the world market with a rise in mineral and agricultural exports such as sugar. This economic development caused urbanization and the increase of population; many people migrated from the rural to the urban and started to work there. Many urban cities were constructed in this period in demand. As a result middle and working classes greatly increased and high-class people relatively decreased.
As working class citizens increased, more political pressures the privileged were under. Social sectors who began to have power through this series of economic development wanted “a shift in politics from a family-style government run by political aristocrats and based on highly limited participation to one of populism, which sought an enlarged power base in the lower sectors of society.” (391) As a result of this industrialization, increase of population, and the political call for a nation’s support for the middle and working class people, populism got popular among Latin America countries.
This paper also argues two reasons why Juan Dorongo Peron gained votes from working class in Argentina. One is that Peron was easily able to manipulate desires of people who just immigrated there. Rapid social and economic developments such as urbanization and industrialization brought so many immigrants. They did not have enough time to know features of cities they just moved in. It was much easier for Peron to convince the strangers to support him than to convince grand-mothers who knew all about the cities.
Another reason is that Peron held populism policies. Previous government did not meet workers’ demands for social welfare and labor environment, while he tried to give what the workers wanted. Since he was the boss of the National Labor Department from 1943 to 1945 and had a power in the military government, he was able to control labor movement and military employments. With the privileged rights he helped the workers live better lives.
How do these arguments and conclusion/s relate to some of the questions we have explored together in the course?
Populism is similar to democracy, one big theme of our class because there is a connection between populism and democracy that the biggest-class, socially lower citizens are valued and cherished. Whereas other isms popular all over the world in 1920s and 1930s basically prioritize national profits or victories of wars to the satisfaction of lower class citizens, populism for the first time gives a hand to them. In most of the cases of politics which are not populism nor democratic, enormous amounts of working-class people are forced to work cheap for only a few wealthy people, and they desire to make a revolution against the privileged under the oppression.
The populism social movement led by the charismatic leader is exactly the same as that of democracy such as demonstration, strike, and slowdown. All of these movements are grass-roots and held for citizens, by citizens. Only populism and democracy allows citizens to be active and give them the hope.
Arguments of reasons why Peron got supported by citizens complement the basic understanding of history of Latin America. In class we learned the basic history of Latin America over the second half of the twentieth century in order to make preparation for our discussion of the topic. Just as this review, we can understand the main topic of this class deeply with the knowledge of Peron.
Develop at least two lines of arguments which engage with one or more arguments presented in the essay.
Citizens whose nation is populism are sometimes anomic and irrational. Populist leaders deregulate laws of monopoly or whatever about economy and allow citizens to buy and sell more freely. Or they just deduct some of the taxation from taxes of the poor citizens. Some of the citizens can be attracted to their short-term kindness and trust the leaders with full allowance. However they need to grasp what the leaders want in return for the carrot and act prudently.
Some forms of populism show its violent antagonist and protest against the upper-class. Even if degree of populism is not so much, still populism makes a distinction between at least twos. It cannot make all people happy with only this political system. This is what is different from democracy. It covers all citizens in the nation.
Explain where you found the essay (what database).
Torre, Carlos De La. “The Ambiguous Meanings of Latin American Populisms.” SOCIAL RESEARCH. 2nd ed. Vol. 59. N.p.: n.p., 1992. Web.
Journalism consists of gathering, evaluating, and presenting current events, ideas, and information. Due to the immersive nature of this field, journalists end up in the center of everything happening in the current moment, ranging from who wore what at the Grammy’s to a politically motivated uprising. The career as a journalist formulates potential for corruption and life-threatening events. A research article by Jeannine E. Relly and Celeste González de Bustamante titled Silencing Mexico: A Study of Influences on Journalists in the Northern States examines the downfall of the press as a democratic institution, focusing on the effects that violence has on the interconnections between media, government, corporation, and organized crime groups.
Relly and González de Bustamante have three research questions: What are the political, societal, and economic influences on the country’s journalists in the context of violence along the northern border, what types of violence and intimidation are visited upon Mexican journalists along the country’s northern border states, and how has increased violence along the country’s northern border changes journalism practice for Mexican journalists since the period when civic journalism was introduced? Through the hierarchy-of-influences model, they focused on five levels of influences on journalists: Individual-level influences, news media routines influences, organizational-level influences, extra-media influences, and ideology as an influence.
On the individual level, journalists lacked training to work in conflict zones which led to high amounts of concern for their families and personal safety. The stress level took a major toll on the journalists’ ability to perform daily tasks such as investigations about the government, crime, or other public interests. Through media routines influences, journalists noted “technological innovations, which allow rapid news dissemination and increased use of social media, along with the faltering economy and local job layoffs, had led to increased workloads, longer workdays, and superficial reporting in an already challenging and often violent environment”. The rise and expansion of technological devices led some journalists to be more careful in their communication because they believed anybody could be listening to their conversations. In the organizational influence, Relly and González de Bustamante found that most of the news organization owners, top editors, and producers interviewed were reacting to the violence and economic downfall rather than setting visionary goals; they projected neutral positions. The violence influenced journalists to begin self-censorship and also triggered the decline of support from companies. Almost all the journalists interviewed states that businesses stopped advertising with news companies to avoid being targets of extortion and kidnapping, thus the newsgroups were forced into the increasing use of government advertising.
Inter-media influences brought most news organizations together, which ceased rivalries amongst the newsgroups. Journalists from different news organizations drove together to crime scenes in order to ensure their safety and to have witnesses for potential abuse by security forces, local law enforcement officers, or members of organized crime groups. Through extra-media influences criminal organizations, governments, academic institutions, businesses, civil society, and transnational organizations all had big impacts on the journalists. All the extra-media influences heavily impacted the journalists by forcing them censor their publishing based on who supported their news organization and who helped keep them safe. The ideological-level influences on journalists concluded that there is a disconnect between journalists and society because there is no possibility to include citizens in news reporting. The disconnect was due to censorship by organized crime groups or governments and self-censorship by the journalists.
Essentially, self-censorship and censorship became a norm that is tolerated in news organizations. The reporting and news coverage were dictated by violence. Organized crime groups controled many parts of media because of an interconnection between the people, journalists, the government, and corporations. The violent nature of the crimes that the organized crime groups commit infiltrates the psyche and brings out the fear in people. The fear causes a chain reaction: corporations begin to cease funding towards newsgroups in order to not be targeted by the crime groups, thus causing newsgroups to rely on the funding of government advertisements. The government then begins to wield more power and control over the media. The journalists also stated that corrupt politicians or government officials involved with criminal groups infiltrates news organizations with moles or buying off reporters; they used journalists as propaganda tools for their own message.
The newsgroups that were interviewed for this study seem to be part of corporate media where they rely heavily on advertising. Thus causing a dramatic dependency on the government when corporations no longer advertise with the newsgroup. Although we briefly discussed how the government infiltrates media bias, we did investigate how the government has a large impact. The study done by Relly and González de Bustamante exemplifies the interconnectivity between media, the people, corporations, and the government. The journalists help identify that fear and corruption are the two causes of self-censorship and censorship. The fear has the most dramatic effects: journalists not being able to go and investigate alone, journalists doubting their reports due to concern for the safety of their family, corporations stopping advertisements so they are not targeted by crime groups, and most importantly losing their life. Everything reported in this article touches on many things we talked about in class such as terrorism, police brutality, journalism, constitutional law, justice, and equality. Terrorism triggered police brutality and corruption, which led to disregarding constitutional law, thus forming inequality amongst the people and injustice for the people who have been killed. Journalism lies in the center of it all, connecting all the pieces together.
Relly and González de Bustamante stated:
And across the border, journalistic autonomy often was traded for personal security, which included reporting only one version of events, that of government officials. Although these newsroom policies often were born out of a sense of terror in the practice along the northern border, this distinct trend can be likened to some semblance of Hughes’ conceptualization of the “adaptive authoritarian” news model in its “passive approach to new gathering” with “traded autonomy,” though in our study it did not appear to be for “partisan or personal advantage” and was complicated by the more prominent role of organized crime groups. Nonetheless, there appeared to be vestiges of the old guard ways, consisting of stenography from press releases, which Hughes’ work a decade ago described as a model that was fading. (Relly 124)
According to this research article, journalism is influenced heavily by government officials in the northern border of Mexico due to fear, but in most cases journalists comply because the want to. This statement is correct in the sense that many media outlets comply with people in power in order harness power and money, but there is a more complex back story to many situations such as the safety of their families and themselves, living in constant fear, and the need to keep their news organization running.
I went to Ikeda library’s online database and started to search for journals on the concealing of government secrets. But after stumbling on an article about the corruption of the government, I searched for that instead. I narrowed my search down to Latin America and came across the research article Silencing Mexico: A Study of Influence on Journalists in the Northern States. It was published in The International Journal of Press/Politics and was found on Sage Journals.
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.
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.
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.
Report on “Limiting Democracy: The American Media’s World View, and Ours”
Central Arguments and Conclusion of the Essay
The author, Glenn Greenwald argues that although, many people insist that an argument that knowledge and information they gain in current society is limited is almost forgotten due to the technological innovation, people’s knowledge and understanding in terms of politics and any kind of news is still limited due to their lack of willingness to obtain more information than they currently have and the regulation of the government and what media do to assure that knowledge is limited. His main focus is the political knowledge in the United States. The reasons that the information people get is still limited are (1, even though, it is possible to gain more information in current society than now, people tend to feel the information they currently have and are received is enough and all they need to know, so they do not search further than that without reason. 2), people are conditioned to believe that they have freedom of their choice in terms of politics or expression through their education and culture, and they are shown that there are lots of arguments going on between two political parties in the U.S media, so they are likely to have the impression that they are informed from both perspectives equally. These make people difficult to realize that the information they gain is limited.
The author takes the examples of the U.S government and media clearly limited information that the U.S citizens were given. The first one was the Iraq War and the run-up to the war. Despite the fact that there was no evidence that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction, and many journalists or even people working for the government were against the run-up to the war, the government pushed aside those people and went to the war. Moreover, the government gave limited and crooked information to the media, and the media reported it to people, so it can be said that people were not fully informed. In the other example, the author compares the difference of perception and information Americans and Muslims were given. The author proceeds to say “information that is known so much of the world is actively suppressed in the U.S (834)”. For example, when 9.11 attacks happened, most American people did not know why Muslims hated them so much and attacked because they were not notified that the U.S had been invading Muslim countries for decades and killing people. Also, the U.S media did not really report when many Muslim journalists were detained in the U.S without any justified reason, but they mentioned about the report that the American journalist was detained in Iran for two months. These are many more examples that the government and media selectively report information to people, and due to that, there would be perceptual differences between Americans and people in different countries.
In conclusion, the author insists that these systems of propaganda are more complicated than we expected, and propaganda is something rooted in people’s minds and culture. There are many obstacles to get rid of propaganda because people have to fight with authority. He mentions that even journalists have to deal with the conflict between telling the truth and being marginalized from the society, and keeping their status, but telling distorted version of truth.
Related Ideas and Developed Arguments
There seem to be a lot of topics we explored in class. For instance, in the article, the author points out that people are satisfied with the information they are given and do not try to scrutinize more than that without any particular reason. It is similar to the idea of active/passive audience that we discussed in class. People tend to feel like they are informed enough, especially in the current society because there seem to be more resources to get whatever information or knowledge they want. However, it does not necessarily work that way because the fact that they have variable resources does not mean they actually take advantage of those resources. If people do not try to understand or gain knowledge of themselves through variable media, they would just receive selected information through limited media that are around them.
In the process of being active audience, there would be a question that how far people should be active? The question ultimately leads to the question of conformity because if people are too active, they could be seen with hostility by the government. As the author mentions in the article, those who do not support “the standard premises” of the government would easily be marginalized, and the journalists who try to denounce the government would lose the access to the official sources that many journalists use. The Culture Industry that is written by Theodor Adorno and Max Horkheimer points out how capitalist society imposes strict rules on people, and eventually people would have to conform with the rules they are enforced by citing Tocqueville, “the ruler no longer says: You must think as I do or die. He says: You are free not to think as I do; your life, your property, everything shall remain yours, but from this day on you are a stranger among us. Not to rendered powerless, economically and therefore spiritually to be self-employed (12)”. Conforming with rules that the authority imposes seems really important to survive in the current society. However, if people always try to conform with whatever the authority assigns them, there would not be any change, and people would just yield to manipulation of the authority. In the examples that the author mentions, people are manipulated by limited information that the government gave them or are dismissed if they are against the government. Nevertheless, the film “No” proves that it is possible to cause great change even under repression of media by the authorities. In the case of the film, Chile had been under the repression of the dictator Pinochet. Due to the dictatorship, the media were used as a means to spread propaganda and nationalism. Even though, many people had been tortured and killed, the media were not allowed to report. This film describes the struggle of people who fought to defeat Pinochet at the 1988 referendum. In Chile’s case, although people were not informed by the media what actually was happening in Chile, they should have known something was wrong. However, they pretended not to see as long as they were not involved because they were scared of being against Pinochet. The campaign against Pinochet was called “No campaign,” and what they did was to make people’s eyes open and force them to see the reality in order to change. Their campaign was disturbed by people on Pinochet’s side, but it eventually made people realize that it was them who could bring change to Chile. Consequently, No campaign won, and Pinochet lost his position. This successive instance implies that if people attempt to change the system all together, it is totally achievable.
Another interesting argument the essay by Glenn Greenwald suggests is that most people do not want to accept that they are also one of those who are manipulated by information. People always argue and blame the systems of propaganda, but they are likely to forget that they could be part of the system because it is not something good to hear. Greenwald states, “we all prefer to think it happens to other people, not to ourselves (827)”. That implies that all people can blindly believe in the truthfulness of their knowledge and information they get. The denial of the possibility to be wrong seems to be a part of human nature because nobody is willing to be wrong or be controlled. Hence, people tend to differentiate themselves from others who are fallible and manipulated. His argument appears to indicate the reason that people repeat the same mistake in the history in terms of propaganda and media. It does not the matter of only in the U.S but all over the world that people have been controlled by propaganda and media, and sometimes that led them to tragedy such as Japan during WWII. As long as people do not face the fact they are being controlled by the authorities and having limited access to information, they would just repeat the same history. At the end of a film “The Hour of Furnaces” about the tragic situation in Argentina, where is controlled by foreign countries such as the U.S, Che Guevara is just staring at the audience for three minutes or so to make the audience uneasy. It seems to be really effective because Guevara’s face appears to ask the audience for taking action. The effect strongly appeals to people so that they cannot think the film is just someone else’s life and stay ignorant and indifferent to reality. This film proves that media can have impressive power to make people act if they are used properly.
Greenwald, Glenn. “Limiting Democracy: The American Media’s World View, And Ours.” Social Research 77.3 (2010): 827-838. Academic Search Complete. Web. 12 Jan. 2015.
In the article “Dilemmas of Democratisation: Media Regulation and Reform in Argentina,” ( accessed on Academic Search Complete) Robbie Macrory argues that the media in a democratizing world, such as Latin America, should have some form of regulatory legislature in order to preserve democratic ideals and allow for the people to become active members of their government. Macrory uses Argentina as a case study to demonstrate the increasing importance of media in a democratizing country. Argentina, like many other countries in Latin America, had many years of political instability due to a set of dictatorships that lead the state. Recently, however, Argentina has lead the way in Latin America by establishing legislation that regulates the different forms of media. The article goes in to detail of what makes up the Ley de Medios and Macrory uses this significant legislation to support his argument.
Macroy begins his argument by first discussing the role of the media in democratic theory. According to Gunther and Mughan, 2001, the democratic theory mentions that the existence of a free press has been a fundamental value of liberal democracy. Macrory then states that the role of media in a democracy is “to ensure the existence of a broadly and equitably informed citizenry that can hold elites accountable and ensure popular control of government through free and fair elections” (Macrory 179). Macrory is basically stating that the purpose of the media in a democratic society is to inform the citizens of what is occurring in order for them to have the ability to cast informed ballots. The media also allows for citizens to function as “watchdogs” on government abuses of power.
After describing the role of the media in a democratic society, Macrory points to the weaknesses of not having appropriate regulation of the media in a democratic system. One of his arguments states that low marginal costs and economies of scale encourage the concentration of ownership. This brings the risks of over-representation of certain political views or forms of cultural output (Macrory 180). Macrory mentions that this has been and continues to be a great problem in Latin America. Countries such as Venezuela show particularly high levels of concentration. Macrory also argues that media without the appropriate regulations in a market-based broadcasting system will only produce certain type of content. Macrory states, “the breadth of information needed by citizens in a democracy is unlikely to be fully satisfied by consumer preferences as these tend towards entertainment rather than in-depth news and current affairs information” (180). Television companies make greater amounts of money by showing what the people want to see which is entertainment. Macrory explains that by companies thinking in their profits and providing entertainment only can result in a diminished quality of public debate and less political participation by the public. This seems to be occurring in the United States in recent years. The media has been focused on providing entertainment for youth and young adults. Little to no in-depth news or current affairs information is covered which means that young adults who are old enough to vote in elections decide not to do so. The turnout for the last elections was one of the poorest since the 1940s. If this continues to be the trend the media uses to profit from younger generations, then it seems like the interest in politics will continue to diminish in the future.
The media not properly regulated does pose a threat to a democratic system. For this reason, Macrory now uses Argentina’s Ley de Medios to discuss the strengths that a regulation on media can bring to a democratic society, particularly to Latin American countries that are in the process of democratization. Argentina decided to take on this reform of media known as Ley de Medios due to President Cristina Fernandez’s desire to weaken Grupo Clarin, which has been accused of taking part in the human rights violations of the dictatorships of the 1970s. To start off, Macrory argues that the most important articles of the ley de medios are those that deal with the structure of media ownership in Argentina. The law first distinguishes between three types of media providers: state, private for-profit, and private non-profit. By making the distinction between these three groups, the ley de medios is broadening the range of voices in the democratic debate. This three-group distinction also enables historically excluded sectors to add their voice to the debate. Also, the law places limitations on ownership of broadcasting licenses which promotes principles of plurality and diversity. At the national level, the law states that “a single company cannot provide services to more than 35 per cent of the country’s population or subscribers” (Macrory 184). Given their large size, multimedia conglomerates such as Grupo Clarin, will have to sell of radio stations and local television stations. This argument presented by Macrory goes hand in hand with what we discussed in class. The ley de medios raises the voices of many groups that could not participate in politics before. These people can now take part in media programs and have an opinion that matters.
A second argument provided by Macrory discusses the regulatory bodies that will be in charge. Macrory argues that these regulatory bodies will ensure that there is plurality and diversity within the media sector. The most important of these bodies is the Autoridad Federal de Sevicios de Comunicacion Audiovisual (AFSCA; Federal Authority of Audiovisual Communivcation Services). This body is responsible for applying and enforcing the law. Another body is the Consejo Federal de Comunicacion Audiovisual (CFCA; Federal Council for Audiovisual Communication), which is an advisory body comprised of representatives, from local government, private and non-profit media, unions, university broadcasters and indigenous groups (Macrory 185). The article also mentions that the individuals that take part in these groups will only serve for a limited amount of time as denoted in the law. This formation of bodies for regulation is a very intelligent idea. The best part of these bodies is that they are formed by people that come from different parts of society. In this way, if any part of the law is broke, the regulatory body will most likely be fair in assessing the crime.
To conclude, Macrory mentions that technological developments ensure that regulation will require continual analysis due to continual advancements in technology. Macrory’s main point could be said to be that the ley de medios represents significant progress towards pluralism and equality within the media. The ley de medios allows for a country to be more democratic and for that country to reach its goals as a democracy as well. Distinct political groups that did not have a voice before now have the opportunity to reach out to different groups of people to gain followers. Also, the people have the opportunity to view different programs and hear different people on the radio and in this way they can form their own opinion and decide on what to vote on their own. Previously, it was usually just one or two political entities manipulating the media and deceiving the people. This is no longer possible in Argentina due to the new media regulations. Macrory does believe that this form of media regulation is what needs to be done not only in Latin America, but in countries around the world in order to create more democratic societies.
MACRORY, ROBBIE. “Dilemmas Of Democratisation: Media Regulation And Reform In Argentina.” Bulletin Of Latin American Research 32.2 (2013): 178-193. Academic Search Complete. Web. 12 Jan. 2015.