Against the current : A minor field study on alternative media in Guatemala

University essay from Stockholms universitet/Latinamerikainstitutet

Abstract:

Tales of contemporary society, and who gets the right to tell them, is in this internet era something in motion as new platforms for sharing and getting information have arisen. Where traditional media through newspapers, radio or television has historically been so dominant, more and more voices can make it through as access to new platforms increase. In Latin America and in Guatemala, traditional media has been in the hands of the few and the powerful, concentrating economical and political influence that’s wielded through the power of discourse. Seeing this as hegemonic and representing a society where all are not included, alternative media seeks to counter such discourse and power by telling the untold stories by those historically without voice. This study picks up the perceptions, experiences and views of journalists and activists reshaping what we know about media production and the world, all this in a setting, a moment in time in Guatemala, when the structures of hegemonic power are shaken and put into question. By interviewing representatives of a wide scope of the alternative media sector, this thesis gives account for their aims and contributions as well as the general role and importance of alternative media in Guatemala. What it shows us is that alternative media is perceived as a force changing and adding to narratives about prior marginalized issues in the media as well as countering hegemonic power by contributing to empowerment of the citizenry. This study also show us that alternative media is perceived to open up the space for public opinion to a wider group of people in society and that it has a part to play in monitoring media power. Through these conclusions we gain a better understanding for counter hegemonic voices, ideas and movements and their part to play in society.

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