Dec 4, 2009

Guatemala's media, the Telecoms and other powers

Fuente: Journalism in the Americas

In a country that has 110 cell phone lines for every 100 people, telecom companies have had great success promoting their products. They represent 15–20 percent of all advertisements sold by media, Barbara Schieber writes for the Guatemala Times.

Now, the media are defending the telecoms from President Alvaro Colom’s proposal to tax cellular messages as part of an effort to raise the government’s 2010 budget, Schieber says.

“Well, what happened to the independence of the Press?” Schieber writes in an opinion column. “The Press is independent as long as they don't lose business.”

“The media is considered in general the fourth power of a nation. In Guatemala, the Telecoms are currently a fourth power through their economic leverage over the media.”

Telecoms aren't the only actors wielding power over the media, Schieber says. Other companies, organizations, political parties and drug traffickers also have enough economic power over the media to remain "untouchable."

Some political parties have already advertised in the media for the 2012 elections, despite a law that bans political ads before the election season officially begins, Schieber adds.

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