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A mediated culture, created with the wrong info?

…the media has been doing so, by publishing news regarding, and I quote: “safeguards (dumping) measures” ¡¡¿¿??!!


Nowadays mass media plays a significant role in shaping our lives. We´re living in the century of a mediated culture, where media creates and reflects culture, as sociologists have said. The spread of information has become an easy task for anyone. Thus, the responsibility of communicators has increased.

The role that the media should be playing in the communication channel is transmitting accurate information, avoiding speculations or misunderstandings among receivers, and basically, increasing knowledge in a society. However, due to the lack of specialization in all matters, sometimes the media might play it wrong. For example, news related to commercial matters.

There is a variety of information sources, i.e.  newspapers, TV channels, the internet. However, not all of them are reliable. Under the “reliable” sources you are supposed to classify important newspapers, big television networks and famous journalists. However, this is not always true.

As I stated before, when it comes to commercial matters, any misunderstanding in technical information may lead to a failure in the communication channel. I understand that at some point, the information may become too specific and technical. But I don´t understand when that happens and the information is general. In Guatemala, trade remedies´ related conflicts have significantly increased during the past year. Claims for antidumping measures in one hand, and safeguards measures in the other, have recently become the new target of the steel industry.

According to article VI of the GATT 1994, “The contracting parties recognize that dumping, by which products of one country are introduced into the commerce of another country at less than the normal value of the products, is to be condemned if it causes or threatens material injury to an established industry in the territory of a contracting party or materially retards the establishment of a domestic industry.” Also, according to the Anti-dumping Agreement of the WTO, three elements must be demonstrated in order to impose an anti-dumping duty: dumping, injury and the causal relationship between the former and the latter. In the other hand, according to article 2 of the Agreement on safeguards of the WTO, “A Member may apply a safeguard measure to a product only if that Member has determined, pursuant to the provisions set out below, that such product is being imported into its territory in such increased quantities, absolute or relative to domestic production, and under such conditions as to cause or threaten to cause serious injury to the domestic industry that produces like or directly competitive products.” Thus, even though there are some similarities between these two types of trade remedies, they respond to different events and necessities, and there´s no reason to mix them.

However, the media has been doing so, by publishing news regarding, and I quote: “safeguards (dumping) measures”, mixing two different cases and transmitting confusing information. For someone who is not familiarized with commercial matters, the information may seem legit. For someone who has some kind of knowledge in the subject, it´s a piety. During the last months, I´ve read different articles that evidence this. They come from two of the most important newspapers in the country, and a magazine owned and controlled by a famous journalist. How are we supposed to create an opinion based on inaccurate information? How are we supposed to increase our knowledge if we are receiving wrong info?

So please, if you find yourself in front of a newspaper/magazine/TV network, don´t rely on that info just because of the source (avoid the argumentum ad verecundiam), ask yourself if there is another source that supports that info, look for more sources, create your opinion with real info. Otherwise we will end up with a misinformed society, and our mediated culture will be created with the wrong info.

Image source:

Rocio Monzón

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