The Politics of Media Freedom: Contestation, Inclusiveness, and the Experience of Anti-Press Violence in Venezuela, Mexico, and Brazil


Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowships


Political Science


Democratization theories assume that democracy and media freedom go hand in hand. However, journalists in democracies are often the target of politicians and individuals who have a stake in political battles. How can political and electoral incentives that are at the heart of democracy create a minefield for journalists? By centering on journalists' experiences and drawing on over 4,000 case narratives, field interviews, and historical documents, this project investigates the ways that political rivalries in Venezuela, Mexico, and Brazil result in anti-media violence and restrictions on media freedom. It reveals that restrictions are not only tied to the political will of anti-democratic incumbents but are also the result of the persistence of authoritarian institutional practices and the incapacity of human rights defense mechanisms to counter violence against journalists in the context of political contestation.