“A Significant Impact on our Democracy”: Chilean Media Audiences’ Claims for Dignity
Chile’s largest social uprising in 30 years began in October 2019. Protests erupted throughout the country, inspired by a widespread belief that the state and powerful institutional actors, such as the media, had undermined the dignity of much of the population. In this article, we explore how and the extent to which mainstream media, specifically television, has affected the dignity of the Chilean people and how participants in the social uprising defined the concept. Drawing on the hundreds of complaints filed with the National Television Council (CNTV) and using grounded theory, we argue that allegations against harm to people’s dignity caused by the media have become more prevalent in Chile. The reasons given by audience members include the violence of the broadcasts themselves, the stigmatization of certain people and groups, and a lack of journalistic ethics. Ultimately, this article analyzes a key concept for social uprisings and connects it to the ethical and political role of media systems and newsmaking in contemporary democracies.