Developments of Journalism in Latin America Multilateralism and Communication

2022-11-11

ByLidia Fagale

I find it necessary to write this article to fight for this new battlefield of dialogue and exchange for journalism and communication practitioners around the world. The 21st century stood witness to unprecedented changes. Against this backdrop, journalism and communication serves as a bridge of great significance, contributing to the formulation of multilateral policies and playing a fundamental strategic role in it.

It has been the tradition of the journalism and communication industry of Latin America to encourage mutual understanding and follow with interest problems of human society in all respects including peace, climate change, health, poverty, global warming, digital divide, childhood issues, territorial disputes, migration, unemployment, new forms of labor organization generated in response to new forms of occupation and exploitation, violation of rights, exclusionism, etc.

In this context, we should not neglect journalism and communication. It is impossible for people not to take it seriously, let alone turn a blind eye to it, because ignoring its existence is nothing short of ignoring tens of thousands of voices——the voices that united in fighting the restrictions of the so-called “free and democratic countries” who, though claiming to be “free and democratic”, are in fact held hostage by the economic groups that “occupied” government institutions.

Those voices are expressed through various media and means including social networks and social platforms, empowering the discourse of “micro power”. They gather strength, piece together the truth, and promote the pluralism of subjective understanding, which is a prerequisite for those voices to be disseminated at home and abroad.

Today, some analysts agree that in the West as well as in Latin America, the concept of “authority” is going through a crisis; languages and characters have gradually become empty and meaningless. Mired in the ideological struggle of the capitalism of today, we journalists and communicators vie to express ideas as if we are arguing about who holds the absolute truth. How to handle false information in the process is very important, because these information often aims at making people believe a one-sided story, as if that alone is objective and true.

It is in this struggle, this dialectical debate about what is the truth, that a kaleidoscope is trying to seek a new perspective in information strategy. This voice constitutes the “other voices” that break through the solid boundary of monopoly which is materialized through the official interpretation of capitalism and the power elements of capitalism characterized by economic, cultural and military hegemony.

Therefore, we also need to expand the concept of multilateralism within the context of communication and broaden the vision given to us by yesterday’s and today’s Latin America. Because the paradigm of analyzing the world has changed, it is imperative to introduce a new idea of integrity to take the piecemeal expressions of truth coming from different angles as a whole. The western liberalism tradition is in crisis. In breaking this tradition, we should practice multilateralism in communication.

“Alternative communication” is a broad term, and different people have different views. For this, it needs to be understood in the light of the history and current situation of Latin America and the Caribbean. From the western perspective and within the framework assumed by capitalism in this century, apart from the multiple meanings of the word “alternative”, we must not overlook the contributions of the tens of thousands of reform projects, which, in this form or that, made up for the shortcomings and institutional weaknesses of liberal and democratic countries. Although these countries have different ideologies, all of them have embodied the countries in institutions or governments, forgetting that citizens are the active participants of society. In addition to expanding the borders of sovereignty and that of various social interests and issues, citizens have something to say, more or less. So, from this perspective, “alternative communication” represents a phenomenon that should not be ignored; ignoring it, we’d fail to fully comprehend the various expressions needed to build a lasting dialogue in the capitalist society of today.

According to the paradigm of the last century, the “other voices” can no longer be heard in the context of the so-called “mass communication” and “structured communication”. Facing the factory manufacturing lies and manipulation, those “other voices” become an active part, converging into discordant sounds. I’m saying this because it is in the struggle in Latin America that these voices have grown. Of all regions in the world, Latin America saw the most inequalities. It was and still is dependent and awash with deportations and violence. To ignore these voices is to deny the fact that there is a link between the struggle of resistance and the alternative communication of anti-establishment. Just as life itself has been plundered, those who try to control the theory and practice of communication globally with the advantage of number fabricate our words, images, voices and thoughts, and then discard them. The “other voices” provided valuable support in these struggles.

In this kaleidoscope, the conflict between the conservative and the new forces born of the circumstances is unfolded, because in the capitalist world, all threats aiming at the permanence of the establishment are likely to be crushed. Capitalism is obsessed with the timeliness of news, which makes it impossible for us to think deeply — it is only the same thing repeated. The inherent will to power in the capitalist system is arisen out of the reproduction of capitalist relations; it emphasizes immediate action without thinking in order to make a swift response. But due to the lack of time needed for thinking, it limits the play of creativity.

What we cannot ignore is that financial and economic groups that have become independent of the state use the state to maintain their immeasurable profits and invest in industries with the greatest symbolic power. In the process, the media has also been reduced to the like of entertainment industry, becoming a member of the economic group and the indisputable symbol group. The “reality” built by the communication structure formed on this basis is far from the truth. Added to its wide range of influence the advanced technical support, it can achieve constant self-reinforcement and affect the whole world.

Therefore, this paper aims to reinterpret the concept of integrity from the dimensions of theory and practice. The first priority should be to give a clear definition and theoretical framework to the “other voices” that constitute the multilateralism of communication. Only by upholding the multilateralism of communication can we give the silenced in the unilateral world their voices.

We must break the shackles of false information and distorted reports, and feel, express and communicate freely. To truly understand this, we can take a look at the history of Latin America, a history of domination and struggle. The indomitable struggle of Latin American people is closely linked with the cause of  journalism and communication, paving the way for the progress of social policies and care for human beings. This went beyond business interests; with a broader vision, it sublimates multilateralism repeatedly mentioned in recent years. Latin American countries rely on powerful countries in economy, politics and culture. The media who want to liberate Latin America have been committed to criticizing the Neo-Liberalism argument, which attempts to package Neo-Liberalism as a universal model of political democracy and freedom of the press.

It is true development projects of different countries follow different ideologies, they are not always sustainable and resilient. In the face of this reality, it should be reiterated that countries must constantly secure multilateralism in the field of journalism and communication and bring together these “other voices”. The truth is the absence of economic democracy will restrict information democracy, and in information democracy, class struggle is also the core of this joint ideological struggle.

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Lidia Fagale, holder of a bachelor’s degree in journalism and a master’s degree in communication policy, is currently the President of Union of Journalists of Buenos Aires, Argentina, member of the presidium of the Belt and Road Journalists Network, and the news director of Radio Clave China (a program broadcast on Argentina’s local and social platforms by Radio 770).