The media is not responsible for society
Could “The Young and the Restless” or “General Hospital” be the reason for problems in America? You probably laugh, but in Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro believes his country’s telenovelas (soap operas) are spreading “anti-values” to young people.
Monday, Venezuelan officials actually met with television heads to discuss possible violations of a 2004 law requiring “socially responsible” programming.
According to the Associated Press, analysts say arm-twisting is unlikely to reduce Venezuela’s high homicide rate, which the United Nations ranks as the fifth worst globally, and they warn that Maduro’s campaign could be used as an excuse to further gag media criticism of the government.
Pressure on the government to crack down on crime heated up this month after former Miss Venezuela Monica Spear and her ex-husband were shot to death by robbers, with their 5-year-old daughter looking on.
Briceno Leon, whose group tracks Venezuela’s violence, blamed the country’s bloodshed on the proliferation of illegal firearms, between 9 million and 15 million by the government’s count, as well as the lack of punishment for those who commit crimes. He said the government has neglected security, viewing it until recently as a concern mainly for its political enemies among Venezuela’s upper classes.
His group estimates more the 24,000 people were slain last year in Venezuela, pushing the homicide rate to 79 per 100,000 inhabitants.
The government disputes those findings, but has blocked access to official crime statistics in recent years. Officials say the rate last year was 39 per 100,000 people, a level that’s still the highest in South America and eight times the U.S. rate.
Most would disagree with Maduro’s stance because South American countries are known for poverty, violence, illegal arms and sources for much of the world’s illegal narcotics. It’s hard to believe that a country faced with such violence will slip further through the cracks because of a soap opera.
On a worldwide scale, people have been quick to blame television, movies, books and music for problems in younger generations. But the media only reflects what is taking place in society. True, violence, crime and stupid choices are sometimes glamorized, but the media is not the source of the problem. People are.
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