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Title: Can the mass media be a political party? : democratic transition in Venezuela under the Bolivarian democracy
Author: Botero-García, Juan Fernando
ISNI:       0000 0004 5914 6530
Awarding Body: University of Aberdeen
Current Institution: University of Aberdeen
Date of Award: 2016
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Since the establishment of Venezuela's democratic arrangement in 1958 with the signature of the Punto Fijo Pact the country democratic practises have been marked by the dependency of the exploitation of crude oil and the overt involvement of the private mass media as guard of the interest of the political elites. Although the Punto Fijo Pact represent the Venezuela's first step towards democratisation, it paved the way for the institutionalisation of clientelism as feature of the country's political tradition. By the late 1980s the population grew tired of inability of the political elites to redistribute evenly the country's oil revenues, thus starting a period of political reconfiguration that saw the decline of the traditional party system and rise of the Bolivarian movement as major political force that pledged the reconstruction of Venezuela's democratic system under a participatory arrangement. The election of Hugo Chávez as the Bolivarian movement candidate in 1998 saw the realignment of Venezuela's political forces, in particular the withdrawal of traditional political parties and the emerge of the private mass media, in particular the television networks, as a major political actor. The main argument of this dissertation is that from 1998 up to the parliamentary elections of 2010, the private television stations in Venezuela took on the role of opposition providing the population with the means to voice their criticisms of the Bolivarian government policies. The stand taken by the private television networks, as the de facto political party, was possible due to the deterioration of the Venezuelan party system and the constriction of the liberal rights of the citizenry, producing, amongst other things, the enactment of the Ley Resorte, to restrict the involvement of the private television networks in the political sphere as well as to control the flow of information. To be able to study why the private television networks were perceived by the Bolivarian movement as de facto political party and why the Bolivarian movement introduced legislation to constrain its participation in the political sphere, this thesis will examine from a historical perspective the role that the private mass media have had in Venezuela's political system and to what extent the Bolivarian movement perception that they were the de facto opposition was an adequate characterisation of the role that private television networks had up until 2010 when the opposition political parties presented themselves again to election to the Venezuela National Assembly after a hiatus of more than five years without representation in the legislative branch.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Mass media ; Democracy