The waterfall model: Formation and circulation of ideas and opinions

It is understood that in each container there are different channels of communication, opinions and interests, so the debate of opinions in the face of discordant points of view is assured and, most importantly, feedback within each level and through the other containers guarantees that There is no possibility of paramenting the information that circulates, except for the limit of the information that circulates.

“Every deposit not only develops a complete cycle, but within every container the interaction processes are horizontal: influencers against influencers, emitters against emitters, resources against resources.”[5]

The basic frame of reference is a society in which there are multiple sources of information, as well as different points of view regarding a topic, as well as the possibility of making these opinions manifest, without endangering any of the powers that people have in his status as a citizen.

This society must be pluralistic, permissive and tolerant of diverse opinions, even if they contradict its own. In the political sphere, the only system that guarantees the conditions for the development and discussion of public affairs is democracy.

The values ​​that underpin democracy guarantee citizen rights that allow free thought and the expression of ideas, with no other parameter than the responsibility of the citizen.

The empirical evidence of the development of these values ​​varies between different political systems. Robert Dahl states that there are eight basic conditions or institutional guarantees with which it can be deduced that a political system is a polyarchy.

This author uses the term so as not to mix or confuse it with democracy, which in this case would be the ideal. “Some readers will be reluctant to accept the term “polyarchy” as a substitute for democracy, but it is important to maintain the distinction between democracy, as an ideal system, and institutional arrangements, which must be seen as a kind of imperfect approximation to the ideal.”.[6]

Sartori disagrees to some extent with this argument, and that is why, despite realizing the implications of maintaining a term that has multiple connotations and conceptual derivations, he prefers the terms prescriptive democracy and descriptive democracy. In the first we will refer to the system of beliefs that support the values ​​of democracy and in the second, to the empirical existence of political systems with democratic political values.

These guarantees are: “1) freedom to form and join organizations; 2) freedom of expression; 3) the right to vote; 4) eligibility for public office; 5) right of political leaders to compete for the vote; 6) alternative sources of information; 7) free and fair elections; and, 8) that the institutions to make government policy depend on the vote and other signs of preference”.[7]

Dahl affirms that these institutional guarantees, as well as the three basic conditions that he formulates,[8] lend themselves to multiple combinations, between public debate or political struggle and the number of people who participate in the political process, via representation, and that These two dimensions throughout history have configured different political systems, derived from the two axes constituted by political debate and participation (representation). Given these institutional guarantees and the conditions that must be manifested to a greater or lesser degree in any political system that wants to be called democratic, point six is ​​of interest for research.

Two aspects must be considered about our country, on the one hand, the situation of the media and its relationship with the government and the situation of citizens and the possibility of expressing their opinions.

Despite the attempts to establish parameters and limitations on freedom of expression by the government—especially the television media—we have a level of freedom of opinion, thought and expression such that citizens have the possibility of finding multiple opinions, comments and assessments on public affairs, since the media express a plurality of positions regarding the government, assuming support, opposition or trying to maintain a certain independence.

We can find more than one explanation and point of view on any political, social or economic fact. At least at the level of newspapers and radio stations, the plurality of sources is greater; As for television, although it is true there is a variety of proposals, a certain uniformity is observed in the presentation of political information.

Each media outlet chooses its line of information policy, whether freely or by coercion, despite this the variety of sources of information and interpretation of events is a guarantee of the plurality of information proposals.

As individuals, we are subject to the discretion of our consciences to express our opinions and appreciations about the reality of our country.

For this reason, countless individual and collective expressions of support or disapproval are expressed about what the government does or does not do, and there is such a degree of tolerance that opinions are allowed to be expressed.

To complete the picture we cannot fail to mention a trend that is inherent to the relationship between politics and information. And it is the tendency to self-censorship. Self-censorship is the possibility that people and the media have to stop saying something based on a calculation of the inconvenience it may cause them.

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