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Keywords:

  • liberalism;
  • press freedom;
  • Venezuela;
  • community media;
  • the state;
  • Hugo Chávez

ABSTRACT

Community media producers who are aligned with and supported by the Venezuelan state must reckon with the notion of “press freedom.” I argue that rather than embrace dominant liberal norms, which hold that a “free press” requires autonomy from the state, community media producers in Caracas approach the state as a potentially liberatory process of collective engagement. This approach demands that they reexamine liberal norms for freedom and autonomy. They do so in a context in which social actors inside and outside official state institutions struggle with the limits and future of liberalism in Venezuela. The dilemmas of community media producers in this context offer an opportunity to develop a critical anthropology of press freedom.