» Media concentration, freedom of expression and media regulation: themes of the ALAIC congress
25.07.2018 - UNESCO Montevideo Office

Media concentration, freedom of expression and media regulation: themes of the ALAIC congress

The Seminar on Media Concentration, Freedom of Expression and Democratic Regulation will be held on July 29 at the Auditorium of the CATTECU Building of the Center for Research and Training in Public Administration CICAP of the city of San José, Costa Rica. Organized by UNESCO, OBSERVACOM and the Latin American Association for Communication Research (ALAIC), it has the support of the Center for International Media Assistance (CIMA), the government of Sweden, DW Akademie, and FES Communication. The activity is part of the celebration of the XIV Congress of ALAIC to be held from July 30 to August 1 in that city.

With the aim of promoting debate among those present, a comprehensive agenda will address on the one hand concrete cases of concentration and pluralism in Latin American jurisprudence; and on the other, the current situation and trends of media concentration in Latin America and the Caribbean.

It will be the opportunity, for example, to know first hand the judicial decisions on the laws of audiovisual communication services. Presentations will be in charge of outstanding jurists such as Dr. Graciana Peñafort of Argentina, and the recently appointed Judge of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, Ricardo Pérez Manrique, who will analyze, for his part, the case of Uruguay. In the case of Brazil, Dr. Ana Carolina Roman will be present. The remote participation of Dr. Edison Lanza, Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, who will present case studies of the Commission will also be ensured.

Regarding the trends of concentration, the presentations will contemplate a characterization of the media system in Latin America and the Caribbean, with the consequent public communication policies, as well as issues of concentration in general, but also info-communicational. Among the experts who will contribute to build the regional panorama of the concentration, and raise empirical evidence on the impact of it, are Guillermo Mastrini (University of Quilmes, Argentina), Luis Ochoa (Freedom of Expression Program, University of Costa Rica ), Fernando Oliveria Paulino (ALAIC), Daniel O'Maley from the Center for International Media Assistance (CIMA) and Mauricio Weibel, from Observacom. In the case of Weibel, it will also be the occasion of the presentation of his latest book Who is the Guardian of the Watchdog?. The publication focuses on stories of how media concentration affects journalism and freedom of expression.

Regional launch of the report "Trends for freedom of expression and media development in Latin America and the Caribbean"

During the activity, the UNESCO 2017-2018 global report Trends for freedom of expression and media development will be launched in its section for Latin America and the Caribbean. The act will be in charge of the UNESCO Regional Adviser for Communication and Information, Guilherme Canela.

The report analyzes freedom of the press according to four of its main dimensions:

i) freedom;

ii) pluralism;

iii) independence of the media; and

iv) safety of journalists.

Special attention is paid to the issue of gender equality. The publication seeks to become a reference tool for the implementation of the 2030 Agenda, particularly objective 16 which recognizes the importance of public access to information and fundamental freedoms.

At a global level, profound changes are observed in the field of press freedom, which progresses in several aspects, but also recedes in others. Freedom of the media is limited in particular by numerous legal restrictions on the right to disseminate information and ideas, although there are advances in legal guarantees to seek and receive information.

With regard to its plurality, there has been a considerable multiplication of information sources. However, the concentration of ownership of internet media and services raises serious concerns. Independence of the media is also weakening, and media and internet companies are increasingly aware of the need for self-regulation. Finally, with regard to the safety of journalists, the trends continue to be alarming.

The detailed report of these topics on the Latin American region will be accessible online after August 3rd. A link will be posted here. 

Online material (in Spanish):

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