ANNUAL CONFERENCE 2011:
FREEDOM OF THE PRESS IN LATIN AMERICA
The third wave of democracy in Latin America began around 1978, opening a promising era that followed different trajectories in strengthening democratic institutions in the countries of the region. However, since democracys comeback important setbacks have occurred in the region, some directly political, others more related to democratic life, the performance of institutions, or the granting of crucial liberties on the part of governments. One particular tension bringing setbacks in the practice of Latin American democracy has to do with freedom of the press. These shortcomings were born as a controversy between several governments and the media companies (and journalists) about the alleged untrustworthiness of the information being produced for public use (and the lack of objectivity thereof), impacting larger societal realms such as political governance and national sovereignty. As the confrontation worsened, leading in some cases to acute polarization, it has brought violations of freedom of the press such as the closure of media outlets, murder and harassment of journalists, constant accusations against media companies, as well as the pursuit of legislation seeking to impair the influence of the press, radio, TV, and even internet in the creation of public opinion.
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ANNUAL CONFERENCE 2009:
THE HONDURAS CRISIS
The current crisis in Honduras, whereby an elected president was ousted from power under military pressure after allegedly pledging the Honduras people his intent in modifying the country's constitution in order to be reelected, is a vivid testimony of the frailty of democratic institutions in Latin America.
The Carr Center, in collaboration with the David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies (DRCLAS) at Harvard, will be pursuing a one day conference to explore in greater depth the nature and implications of the crisis in Honduras. The idea is to explore the different angles of the events in the country, looking at the Central American historical context in which democratization took place, examining the impending constitutional crisis that resulted from a clash of internal powers, analyzing what international forces (Latin American countries, the US, OAS, mediators) were at play and what was their response to the crisis. Finally, the implications of the current crisis in terms of the confrontation of forces alluded earlier on how democracy is exercised throughout the continent.
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