Are Media ‘Watchdogs’ of Illegal State Practices in Post-Cold War Liberal Democracies?: A Case-Study of the Coke Extradition
Stephens, Andre Sean
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Since the end of the Cold War, post-colonial states have progressively enacted a series of liberal-democratic reforms aimed at addressing forms of state illegality. Despite being good disciples of reform, political liberalization has failed to curtail illegal state practices, and may have encouraged new associations between political elites and illegal actors. Thus, politically-liberalized states paradoxically trumpet the transparent governance and law-and-order even as they forge ties with shadowy figures. As the watchdogs of the political establishment, free media — in the liberal conception — play a fundamental role in challenging or preserving political legitimacy. This study therefore explores how the media portray political establishment in the face of its paradoxical orientation. Drawing on the case of the extradition of politically-connected Jamaican drug lord, it compares the representation of Jamaican political actors across media in different parts of the world over a five-year period. It finds compelling evidence that domestic media tend to ignore frames that call the legitimacy of political order into question.
- Sociology