The Power of Mass Media within the Social Construction of Crime: Analyzing the Pederasty Case in the Spanish Newspapers

Monday, 16 July 2018: 20:00
Oral Presentation
Raquel PASTOR, University of Cadiz, Spain
María del Mar MARTÍN ARAGÓN, University of Cadiz, Spain
It is well known that the main function of the media is to inform and, therefore, to bring reality closer to the citizenry, but we cannot ignore the fact that they are also generators of opinion. These capacities are especially relevant when the news event is related to a criminal phenomenon and, even more so, if the freedom and sexual indemnity of the minors is the legal right violated .

On the other hand, the possibility that this crime typology may cause great social alarm may depend not so much on its real incidence based on crime rates as on its media exposure, and this last, not only by placing first in the public debate a certain subject/issue "agenda setting" but also by the way it is (re) presented "framing".

Based on these premises and the hand of the literature on the media and crime, this paper aims to analyze the socio-media conversion of the criminal phenomenon in the news, taking as a case study the conduct related to the field of crime pederasty. The empirical material used comes from the press reports published in the main national newspapers in Spain (ABC, El Mundo and El País) that became an echo of this phenomenon.

The temporal framework for the selection and qualitative analysis of the news began in 2010, due to the modification that LAW 5/2010 made in the Criminal Spanish Code to introduce chapter II bis regarding sexual assault and abuse of children under 13 years (age limit that was extended to 16 years by LAW 1/2015).

This paper has attempted to show how is the issue of pederasty symbolically constructed in the main Spanish Newspapers and what kind of implications can such a media construction have in terms of attitudinal orientations and behaviors of the citizens.