Accepted paper:

Communication policies during the war on drugs in Mexico


Jose Antonio Brambila-Ramirez (The University of Sheffield)
Veronica Sanchez Medina

Paper short abstract:

How did the Mexican government communicate the war on drugs to the citizens? Could the Mexican government design and implement a coherent and homogeneous communication policy? And what were the differences to apply this policy among the main governmental institutions?

Paper long abstract:

In the context of social conflict a political communication strategy is essential. In the case of the war on drugs in Mexico, between 2007 and 2011, this was important not only because the government needed public support in order to continue with the military strategy, but also because the government needed to counteract the drug cartelsĀ“ messages. Nevertheless, the Mexican government was unable to design and launch a coherent and homogeneous communication strategy. Each of the governmental institutions involved in the war on drugs developed its own communication policy. The three factors that shaped the communication strategies among the governmental institutions were: institutional goals, environmental challenges and budget. In this paper, it is analysed in deeper these three elements between the two most important governmental institutions, on one hand, the Secretary of Defence (SEDENA), on the other, the Federal Police's (SSP). The former highlighted the successes of this administration, especially, to captured mafia leaders and improved research and technology. The latter emphasised its efforts to safeguard the security and integrity of citizens. Both minimised the negative balance of the war. In this paper, it is used data from the government and a content analysis of media outlets. In the first case (SEDENA) it is analysed the television ads campaign. In the second case (SSP) it is analysed a soap opera.

panel P18
Drugs in Latin America in the early twenty-first century