17 October 2015 / By Journalism in the Americas Blog
Journalists and press advocates have created another project to study concentration of media ownership in Colombia. They found low transparency, high ownership concentration and links between media owners and the political world, among other insights.
Media Ownership Monitor (MOM), a project between the German branch of Reporters Without Borders (RSF for its acronym in French) and the Colombian Federation of Journalists (Fecolper for its acronym in Spanish), was formally launched this week.
“Media pluralism is a key aspect of any democratic society, since only independent and free media are able to reflect the true variety of opinions of a society,” RSF secretary-general Christophe Deloire said in an organization press release. “Uncovering concentration in the media market is an important first step towards ending the unchecked influence of dominant media owners.”
Fecolper and RSF held a conference, “Media Concentration in Colombia” on Oct. 15 in Bogotá to highlight the project’s key findings. A few are below:
- Transparency generally is low for data regarding ownership and company finances. Searching for the data can be expensive. Academics and independent projects do much of this research and reporting.
- Media owners and business groups are active in politics and/or campaign financing. Many owners, board members and shareholders have held public office; this is especially true of regional press owners.
- There is a lack of information concerning distribution of government advertising in media.
- Business owners have economic interests in multiple different types of media (print, radio, TV).
- 57% of the audience for the radio, internet and press sectors are consulting media owned by just three business groups.
- In recent years, independent digital native media sites have gained readership among opinion leaders.
Poderopedia launched a similar project, “Media Map,” for Colombia and Chile in September 2015. Many of their findings align with those of the MOM project.
The MOM project leaders plan to expand the project to other countries, according to RSF. They are preparing the project for Cambodia next.