Regulation for the news: An in-depth Analysis of the role of the Ecuadorian Communication Law in the reporting of the 2017 Odebrecht scandal and Vice President Jorge Glas (2022)
Type of ContentTheses / Dissertations
Degree NameDoctor of Philosophy
Media regulation in South America has been theorised from perspectives that consider the need for unrestricted journalism that is capable of scrutinising power without fear of reprisals as well as journalists’ responsibility to serve the public interest in their reporting. In this regard, the Ecuadorian Communication Law in Ecuador was enacted by Rafael Correa’s government with the argument that it would improve journalistic practices and news that would ultimately benefit citizens. However, this law was questioned by journalists and other media practitioners who believed it increased the possibility of censorship, particularly of news that scrutinises the government. This thesis examines the role of the Ecuadorian Communication Law in the reporting of the 2017 Odebrecht scandal to draw conclusions about how journalists’ news processes interact with this regulatory framework during reporting of highly relevant political news.
This study employs a constructivist approach and qualitative research methods to examine the role of the Ecuadorian Communication Law during the reporting of political scandals from different perspectives. First, this study builds an analytical foundation through normative and discourse analyses of Ecuadorian regulated news texts alongside unregulated texts, using the Ecuadorian Communication Law’s requirements as a standard. The results of this process allow theorisation of the ways in which, and how much, media regulation is reflected in the Ecuadorian news texts. Second, through in-depth interviews, the research gathers insights into journalists’ reporting practices during the Odebrecht scandal, to further explain how the Communication Law fit with newsroom processes.
As such, this thesis contributes new empirical research to discussion about the role of media regulation in the reporting of sensitive political news. Specifically, it raises questions about whether media regulation, as enacted in Ecuador, can account sufficiently for subjective concepts in news practice, such as balance and fairness. Moreover, this study concludes that regulation in Ecuador presents challenges in terms of its fair application. Specifically, constraints dealing with subjective concepts in the creation of news, as well as issues regarding the journalists’ perception of freedom and autonomy in their work.
Keywordsmedia regulation, politics, discourse analysis, newspapers
RightsAll Rights Reserved
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