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Politics, Media Systems And Governance: The Battle Over Public Opinion In Latin America

1625 words - 7 pages

A vast deal of effort has been done in comparative analysis in the field of political communication. However, following Pfetsch and Esser (2014), it is clear that this area of study is still under construction and several questions remain open. At the same time, an important part of the research in this area has been done in industrialized countries. A enormous region of more than half a billion people as Latin America represents a challenge to undergo appropriate inquiry in order to understand the close relationship between politics and communication and its effect on governance and public opinion.
In this context, we are interested in seeing how the media relate to politics in Latin ...view middle of the document...

In particular, it has been said that the perception of insecurity felt by citizens of Venezuela or Ecuador is product of how the media handled this issue, more than the real effect that insecurity might have over them. In press conferences, Correa or Chavez berated journalists for not freely exercise their function and serve the editorial line of the media they work for.
On the other hand, in several countries, the media have reported that the government has violated their right to inform and has limited the fundamental right to freedom of expression. The way media treat and present the issues serve the public as an input for the evaluation of governmental performance. Introducing often negative aspects, it is expected that the perception of individuals towards the government would not be positive.
Understanding governance as the process through which we reach decision-making and that this process involves both public officials and citizens interested in particular aspects, it can be assumed that political communication play a vital role on how people evaluate the government. In this sense, the media could interfere the decision-making process affecting public perceptions that in turn put pressure on those responsible of the administration.
The effectiveness of government is one of the indicators through which governance is assessed in a country. The media and politicians to the public express their agreement or disagreement regarding the performance of the administration. Both justify to the public the way they defend their interests using the tools of political communication.
To do this, these actors design their message in a way that maximizes the impact on audiences. Looking thereby tipping the balance toward their particular interests.
There is a tendency in some Latin American countries to get the media out of the political game and to relegate them to the mere exercise of informing people. This kind of regulation reduces the scope of the media and do not recognize the importance of these actors in the process of building public opinion.
Interest is a key factor in these studies. It is about the interests that messages are designed. If both politicians and the media we share certain interests, we will be in a cooperation scheme. If there is no competition for a given topic and does not seek the imposition of an interest, we will be in a position of neutrality in which the topic is not even mentioned by any of the two entities. If interests are opposed, then most likely we are facing the adversarial model that will put the politicians and the media to compete for the favor popular. This favor measured in terms of perceptions in favor or against the message issued by both actors.
It should be expected that the political culture moderate the impact of the message to the public. Therefore, both the politicians and the media design their communication strategies within the values and principles of society. To the extent that actors can...

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