March 16, 2017
Keymer Ávila | @Keymer_Avila
Polarizing and national unity discourses are often useful for generating social cohesion and consensus. Thus, for example, during the month of July 2015, simultaneously with the OLP , the campaign for the defense of the Essequibo against the external threat was launched , while inside the country it defended itself from the internal enemy: the criminal.
In the case of the PLO, the political-partisan sides (government and opposition ) –apparently confronted and polarized– chose to reproduce a very similar discourse , both in its forms and in its ideological content. The polarization between political-partisan factions, which dominates the national scene, was replaced by a polarization between Us (the citizenry, the political class and the media) and Them (the alleged criminals) (Van Dijk, 1996, 1999), characteristic of the war logic and the construction of the enemysocial. The former must protect themselves from the latter, the former must be protected and their lives respected, the latter not. In these last cases, it would be lives that are not worthy of mourning (Butler, 2010), on the contrary, their deaths would be politically, socially and media-justified. The lives of the former are mourned, the deaths of the latter are applauded.
During the OLP the discursive construction of enemies has been a constant , although not very coherent, sometimes they are Colombian paramilitaries , in others: organized crime , real estate mafias , and there has even been talk of Salvadoran gangs . One of the last categories used was that of the “ bachaqueros ”, which continues to be largely a retail practice carried out mainly by the most deprived social sectors.
This process of criminalization and stigmatization has been accompanied by a politically dangerous discourse, which makes use of terms that evoke extermination and annihilation, comparing the alleged offenders with “plagues” that must be “treated” as such . In these processes, the media are essential.
The frame of reference is war and the annihilation of the “other”. It is precisely in this bellicose logic that incorporated journalism operates .
Everyone discusses the mask , the appearance, but not that there were 9 deaths , they are even presented as something natural, positive and a priori as products of a ” confrontation ” .
Judith Butler, in her work Marks of War. Las vidas lloradas , explains incorporated journalism as the acceptance by the media of “reporting only from the perspective established by the military and government authorities”, “the one that abides by the demands of the State and the Department of Defense”, which assures them “access to the theater of operations of the war.” The media then end up being the propaganda apparatus for this type of policy. The context in which the author makes the statement is the US invasion of Iraq.
But since the political elites insist on mixing and confusing the scenario of war with that of citizen security , then the transfer of critical analysis from the first scenario to the second is useful. Will this phenomenon of incorporated journalism not also occur in the field of citizen security ?? Is this not what happens sometimes with the so-called journalism of events? To what extent do some crime journalists end up being held hostage by the police and the military, to be used as their propaganda and legitimization apparatus? Doesn’t crime journalism sometimes become a reproducer of police and military discourse and logic? Doesn’t the crime journalist sometimes need to look good with those who leak a bloody photo, information that ensures many clicks, or take them to an operation so that they have the best coverage? Don’t some crime journalists end up legitimizing police and military arbitrariness and excesses? Why prioritize the police and military account over others such as that of the relatives ,neighbors and witnesses
These questions serve to problematize and contextualize the discussion around the use of death masks used by officials of the State security forces in the Valley last Friday, where at least 9 people died in the framework of the OLP , now with “H” –“H” for humanism or homicides ?–. How were these photos taken? Is it a new propaganda line from the security forces or is it the product of independent journalistic work? Are they an institutional order? Did the officials pose for them? In some photos it gives that impression. What is the content that accompanies these photographs? What is the footer message and headline? What are the frames and contexts of these images?
In any case, the most important thing is to analyze and question the dripping massacre that results from this type of intervention. If homicides are committed with impunity, if there is no type of accountability for how deaths occur in the context of police operations – are they actually confrontations or extrajudicial executions ? – if it is the military who direct and carry out this type of procedure, that the uniform regulations are not respected seems to be something of minor importance.
Everyone discusses the mask , the appearance, but not that there were 9 deaths , they are even presented as something natural , positive and a priori as products of a ” confrontation “. No one disputes that according to various sources ( OVV , Antillano ) there were more than 5 thousand people killed in the hands of State security forces last year , this would mean that this type of death increased more than 100%. But no, the important thing is the mask and what it communicates, as if the message hadn’t been clear for a while.
One of my lines of work has been to analyze how the media, many times, end up defining decisions regarding criminal policy . My object of study is almost always the Penal System , of which, without a doubt, the media are part. part. Just as crime and its actors are analyzed, the Penal System and its operators, journalism of events and the media treatment given to the actions of the police and military, within the framework of citizen security policies, should also be the object of study, especially in these times that we have had to live.
Publicado originalmente en Provea.