A public lecture with Dr Ieva Jusionyte (Harvard University), organised by the Conspiracy and Democracy Research Project.
Drawing from ethnographic research with news journalists in the tri-border area of Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay, this talk examines the role of the media in producing, circulating, and contesting conspiracy narratives. From the 1990s, when securitisation and militarisation went hand-in-hand with sensationalist portrayals of the region as a haven of organised crime and terrorism, to the panics caused by the spread of tropical disease – first yellow fever, then dengue – over a decade later, local journalists in towns along Argentina’s northern edge have remained mostly silent. Off the record, the media in the Province of Misiones has been fiercely criticising the complicity of major Argentine news outlets in vilifying the border area – a process which they saw as being driven by the interests of political and economic elites in Buenos Aires as well as in Washington, D.C. In this talk, Dr Jusionyte discusses the disagreements about the events and their interpretations between local, national, and global media as a lens through which to understand social anxieties and insecurities in a historically marginalised and criminalised border region.