International communication, national identity, and political change: The role of international news in Puerto Rico’s political discourse
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In the first comprehensive analysis of the political economy of the mass media of Puerto Rico, done in the early 1990’s, Subervi-Vélez, Hernández-López & Frambes-Buxeda concluded that the ...
In the first comprehensive analysis of the political economy of the mass media of Puerto Rico, done in the early 1990’s, Subervi-Vélez, Hernández-López & Frambes-Buxeda concluded that the fundamental factor shaping Puerto Rico’s media system was the Island’s status with the United States. In spite of some structural continuities across the decades, the world of international communications, especially the news media world, which is dominated mainly by United States capital, is not only one of the factors shaping the political status of the Island, but also one of the fundamental factors informing and contributing to the ongoing colonial relationship between Puerto Rico and United States today. Because of the importance of access and voice in media coverage, and of media representations, for the individual and collective process of national identity formation, and for assuring a place in the policy-making process, this study explores several questions, which can be sum in two: 1) whether there is a relationship between news media coverage of Puerto Rico and Puerto Ricans by major news media networks, and the knowledge, attitudes and perceptions about Puerto Rico and Puerto Ricans by U.S. residents of the mainland and the ones living in the Island; and 2) how these knowledge, attitudes, and perceptions are similar or differ. The hypothesis is that news about Puerto Rico and Puerto Ricans are not only scarce, but also very limited in its scope and focus, especially with respect to the real political, economic, social, and cultural dynamics of the Island and its people. In essence, this study suggests that news and information about this territory, in the midst of intense deliberations about its future status with the U.S. are not presented in any regular nor substantial way in the news media that shape public knowledge and opinions. Such invisibility has potentially detrimental consequences, not only for Puerto Rico and Puerto Ricans national identity and cultural value, but also for U.S. internal and foreign policies and affairs.
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