"Media Map" project reveals ownership concentration in Chile and Colombia
Poderopedia, a Chilean organization that works to bring transparency to power structures that run Latin American countries, has released Media Map (“Mapa de Medios”), a database detailing media ownership and concentration in Chile and Colombia.
From December 2014 to August 2015, teams from Chile and Colombia conducted research to create the free public database of media in their respective countries, according to the organization. The database includes information about media type, ownership, executives, pertinent legislation and audience. It also looks at the presence of media conglomerates in other sectors, such as retail, health and banking.
The organization said it created the media map and investigated media ownership in Chile and Colombia because “the media are the first to demand transparency but are reluctant to make transparent their ownership structure and interests.”
Poderopedia has used the database to analyze the media landscapes in both Colombia and Chile. These are some of the most interesting findings laid out by the organization:
- In Chile, media groups El Mercurio and Copesa account for "more than 90 percent of newspapers and readership" and also "dominate the digital media industry." Four groups account for 70 percent of the radio market.
- Of the 509 media in the Chilean database, a majority (216) are classified as digital media. That is followed by print (133), radio (115) and then television (45).
- Most information production in Colombia "is in the hands of large business conglomerates with interests in infrastructure, food and beverage industries, banking, public services, housing, among others," according to Mónica Ventura, chief of research at Poderopedia.
- Just 13 out of 220 media outlets in Colombia that were asked about ownership, earnings and audience data actually responded. Research into these topics is made more difficult by a lack of accessible records. Researchers pooled information for the Mapa de Medios project from public databases, regulatory agencies, media trade associations, press and academic publications, company websites, information requests to the media, and interviews with academics, experts and journalists, according to the organization.
Poderopedia also has provided code and instructions for anyone who wants to create a similar project in other countries. Users can also add information to the database.
The organization said the project “serves as an incentive for the same media to start to be more transparent with information of ownership and interests,” according to Ventura.
The idea for the project was proposed and financed by Open Society Foundations and was supported by universities Alberto Hurtado in Chile and Javeriana in Colombia, according to Poderopedia. The investigation team consisted of Fundación Poderomedia and Poderopedia Chile, as well as Poderopedia Colombia, which is administered by investigative journalism organization Consejo de Redacción.
Poderopedia, founded by Chilean journalist Miguel Paz, is an organization that investigates and reveals power structures and relationships in Latin American countries. It has chapters in Colombia, Chile and Venezuela and receives help from the Knight Foundation, Start-Up Chile, and the International Center for Journalists.
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