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Tufts University

Publication Date

Spring 2007

Program Name

Chile: Culture, Development, and Social Justice

Abstract

This investigation is focused on the written, printed press in Chile. The basic thesis question is this: how can it be that under democracy, there is such an anti-democratic printed press? Since Pinochet’s defeat by the ‘No’ vote in 1988 and the restoration of democracy, leftist, independent, critical publications have not been able to survive. The Chilean governments under La Concertación have been blatantly preferential, giving around 70% of $500 million dollars in state sponsored ads—each year—to two main printing companies and the papers they own: Edwards group and Copesa. The lack of a diverse printed press has obviously harmful effects on a young democracy: without independent voices to check the acts of government, the likelihood of that government becoming anti-democratic increases. The journalists I have spoken with throughout the process of writing this paper all have experience writing for publications in Chile and outside of it, during dictatorship and after. Their perceptions have contributed, in large part, to the ‘big-picture’ focus of this paper. What’s more, I also administered a survey to journalism students in two private Santiago universities. The point, I’ve hoped, is to provide a look into the future of journalism in Chile. Unfortunately, over 90% of the respondents say that there does not exit freedom of expression in Chile. The results of this study are pessimistic. The situation that I have presented of present day Chile’s printed press—based on much biographical research, interviews and the survey—does not bode well for those who believe in democracy. I have identified a combination of political, economic and social-cultural factors that are responsible for the concentration of written media in Chile. They are all intertwined and related. This study took place between May 6 and June 6, 2007.

Disciplines

Mass Communication | Social Influence and Political Communication

 

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