Written by Katharina Dorn

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  • Area: 1.285.220 square kilometres
  • Population: approx. 31 Mio.
  • Capital: Lima
  • State form: democratic republic
  • Official languages: Spanish (& Quechua, Aymara)
  • Religion: Christian (82 per cent, 2016)

  • Flag of Peru

    Media freedom is still in its early stages in Peru. After several decades of suppression, journalists are struggling with the consequences of the long-term interference in the media system. The main threats to media freedom are laws against defamation often used to limit reporting about taboo issues like corruption, exploitation of the environment or misuse of state resources. These laws can lead to severe penalties like imprisonment or high fines. This arbitrary justice is made possible by vaguely worded legislation leading to an inadequate legal framework. Consequently, journalists often avoid discussing sensitive information resulting in self-censorship. Physical and verbal attacks against journalists are also common when targeting these topics. According to the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) 15 journalists have been killed in Peru due to potential work-related motives. Furthermore, journalism in Peru is also heavily affected by market concentration strengthening traditional dominating family structures and reducing media freedom. Many journalists are badly paid and therefore vulnerable to corruption. Insufficient training often leads to poor quality content. Moreover, centralization of the media in major cities, like Lima or Arequipa, is resulting in an information void in the provinces. In 2016, Reporters without Borders ranked Peru 84 out of 180 countries. The Freedom House Foundation scored the country 46 of 100 in 2015, rating it “partly free”. Because of a non-existent public media market, low diversity due to high media concentration and a rather indirect influence of politics (via close ties to media moguls, licensing, state advertising orders, personal intervening of politicians), the Peruvian media system can be grouped together with other Latin American countries like Mexico and Brazil in the Cartelism type. Besides the respective reports, other documents and literature, the following portrait is based on two expert interviews conducted in summer 2016.
    Communication policy and regulations
    Media freedom in Peru is legally granted by the Constitution (Art. 2) of 1993 which ensures freedom of expression and thought and outlaws censorship. However, the history of the country provides an insight in serious interferences in press freedom and can offer an explanation of the current legal situation. During the last fifty years, Peruvian journalism suffered serious drawbacks regarding media freedom which to some extent persists until today.

    The period of the military rule (1968-1980)
    From 1968 until 1980, Peru was under military rule. In this time, the country was dominated by economic crisis and political violence (Aldana-Durán, 2008: 183). The media were under strict control being highly regulated by the rulers. Journalists faced severe penalties (jail, deportation) when criticizing the government. In order to break down the traditional private control and increase the representation of minorities (like indigenous people or the urban poor) a new press law was designed, which led to the expropriation of all national newspapers with a circulation of more than 20.000 (Fox, 1988; Pope, 2011). Furthermore, a Statute of Press Freedom in the late 1960s restricted ownership to native Peruvians, recognized journalism as a profession and defined severe penalties for libel and slander which set limits to criticizing the government. In 1971, a telecommunications law also placed the broadcasting sector under state control (Gargúrevich & Fox, 1988). However, social and economic goals of the revolution failed, leaving behind the authoritarian rule of the military. It was not until the consecutive term of office of president Fernando Belaúnde Terry when newspapers were finally returned to their rightful owners (ibid.: 65; freelancer, 2016).

    Civil War (1980-2000)
    In the 1980s and 1990s, the country was shaken by internal conflicts triggered by the leftist guerilla groups Shining Path and the Túpac Amaru Revolutionary Movement. In this time many indigenous people, being recruited by the rebel groups, were killed. However, until today the Peruvian government makes almost no effort to provide justice to cases of human rights abuse by state actors during this time (Freedom House, 2016). The media also failed to adequately represent the violence of the 1980s and 1990s often neglecting the murder of many Quechuans and being indifferent to the suffering of the indigenous populations, which were the main victims of the violence (Aldana-Durán, 2008). This racism persists until today: often indigenous populations are only ridiculed or mentioned in the media in cases of crime. Furthermore, most of the traditional media refrain from using indigenous languages reproducing the exclusion of the indigenous population (Aldana-Durán, 2008: 187). Only a few exceptions, like the state-owned radio station Radio Nacional, or several community stations are disseminating information in traditional languages (Raiser, 2012).

    The Fujimori decade (1990-2000)
    In the 1990s, Peru was still shaken by serious economic problems. The new president Alberto Fujimori implemented a constitution which was more authoritarian and neoliberal, putting private property and market in the centre of the country’s development and thus accomplished a remarkable economic recovery by 1995 (Pope, 2011). However, despite those positive trends, freedom of expression was seriously damaged during this time. In 1992, Fujimori closed Congress and created a constitutional amendment allowing him to run for a second consecutive term (Pope, 2011). At this point, democracy turned into authoritarian regime. The restrictions exerted on the media were wide-ranging: Fujimori shut down media outlets which did not represent his point of view and used bribes for buying them off. Fujimori’s security chief Vladimiro Montesinos used millions of dollars to achieve favourable coverage. A Peruvian freelancer who was interviewed for the country portrait states: “The media was not free. It was more like a business. So the one who pays most, received most coverage“. This process was documented by Montesinos himself in the so-called Vladivideos, showing his intrigues in detail (Linnarz, 2004). Montesinos even bragged about this machinations: The broadcast channels “are all lined up. Every day I have a meeting with them and we plan what is going to come out in the nightly news shows” (Pope, 2011). The government even enforced an operation (Plan Emilio) which allowed the surveillance of journalists (McCaffrey et al., 2010).

    Further pressure on the media was exerted by expropriation, imprisonment of journalists (e.g. Gustavo Gorriti) and economic pressure by withdrawal of advertising (Aldana-Durán, 2008: 184). As a consequence, the CPJ appointed Fujimori as one of the world’s ten enemies of the free press in 1999 (Conaghan, 2002: 116). One year later, Fujimori was forced to resign due to allegations of a fraudulent election, press censorship, corruption, human rights abuse and violence (Pope, 2011). He is currently serving a 25-year sentence in prison until 2034. In 2016, the accusation of corruption was suspended by the Supreme Court due to lack of evidence. The human rights activist Carlos Rivera criticized the courts’ decision declaring it “dangerous and detrimental for the fight against corruption” (Unverhau, 2016). However, despite serious media interventions by the government, there was still a group of independent media (the dailies La República, El Comercio and the broadcasting station Canal N) which played a critical role in bringing down Fujimori. In 2001, several journalists of El Comercio received the Freedom of Expression Award from the Inter-American Press Association, because they resisted the interference of the government (Conaghan, 2002: 123; Pope, 2011). Interestingly, the Freedom House rating shows an improvement of broadcasting freedom during the Fujimori-era. This clear discrepancy to the reality shows that the ratings should be treated with caution (Martínez, 2011: 24).

    Democratic spring (since 2000)
    Since the end of the Fujimori regime there’s been a recovery of democracy also influencing the media. Several laws were passed which promote and protect media freedom, created codes of ethics and gave the population the right to access governmental information (Martínez, 2011: 41). In 2001, president Alejandro Toledo intended to eliminate corruption, refashion the Constitution and restore press freedom. In the same year, Peru was removed from the IPI Watch List, a document which recorded countries that appear to be moving towards suppression or restriction of press freedom (Pope, 2011). In 2002, the Transparency and Access to Information Law was approved by the Toledo administration in order to regain the trust of the population highlighting public access to information (Freundt-Thurne et al., 2012; Martínez, 2011: 18). Yet the law has not prevented the government from removing licenses on unclear grounds and there’s still no transparency regarding the ownership structure of the media. This is because the law confirms that broadcasting services are private and do not need to make information public (Freundt-Thurne et al., 2012).

    In 2004, the Radio and Television Law (LRTV) was adopted by Congress being the first law of this its kind in Peruvian history. The law revolves around freedom of expression, press freedom and media. Furthermore, it defined that broadcasting should be used in the public interest (e.g. respecting cultural diversity and freedom of information and strengthening the national identity). Moreover, a code of ethics should be implemented for all broadcasting stations reviewed by a regulatory commission, the Consejo Consultivo de Radio y Televisión (Aldana-Durán, 2008: 187; Freundt-Thurne et al., 2012: 30; Fundamedios, 2013; Martínez, 2011: 32). The LRTV also states that the responsibility for broadcast licensing is in the hands of the Ministry of Transport and Communications (MTC) which is part of the executive branch of the government. Consequently, there exists no independent media regulator in Peru (see also section “journalists’ autonomy”). In addition, despite the public service function, a contribution to the social interest seems not to be required in the licensing process, because the criteria are mainly technical. The broadcaster could change its content completely and would not be prosecuted by law, which turns the licensing de facto into a hereditary process (Freundt-Thurne et al., 2012: 61). The law also established three classifications of media: commercial, educative and community media, which was the first time that community media were legally recognized. In the past, they were often marginalized and in many cases excluded from the licensing process. However, there are still constraints for community media, because no mechanisms are listed to compensate the lack of technical resources. Furthermore, the term “community media” is not clearly defined, which creates ambiguity (Freundt-Thurne et al., 2012: 58).

    The ownership structure of the Peruvian broadcasting sector is the only one clearly regulated by law. The LRTV declares that “radio and television cannot be object of exclusiveness, monopoly or hoarding, whether directly or indirectly, by the State or private entities”. Holding more than 30 per cent of the television frequencies or 20 per cent of radio frequencies in the same band and within the same local area is prohibited (Freundt-Thurne et al., 2012: 69). Moreover, owning a broadcasting license is limited to foreigners as they may not hold more than 40 per cent of a stake of a broadcasting company (Freedom House, 2015; OECD, 2008: 30). Yet there’s no cross-ownership regulation leading to high concentration in the media sector (see section “journalists’ autonomy”).

    Further drawbacks under president Ollanta Humala (2011-2016)
    After all these amendments, press freedom suffered again some serious drawbacks under the new president Humala. In 2010, he signed a bill without any public reviewing in order to decrease the amount of freedom of expression and thus, minimize the amount of dissent and criticism of the government. Three years later, a controversial law about cybercrime (Ley Beingolea) was published which contained severe penalties (imprisonment) for criminal offenses on the web (e.g. illegal person data traffic or computer fraud). Many parts of the law are poorly worded, turning common behaviours like investigative journalism into a crime (Hott, 2013). This turns the decree into a threat to the Transparency Law and violates freedom of speech (Salazar, 2013). Another law being adopted without public consultation was the Data Retention Law (2015) – an approach to tackling crime which could reveal journalists’ sources and violates the right to privacy (Keane, 2015; Rudl, 2015). In 2016, defence minister Valakivi criminally denounced journalists for allegedly revealing state secrets, but faced a possible impeachment for journalist intimidation by Congress. This legal decision could be a spark of hope for journalists’ autonomy in Peru (Post, 2016a).
    Media offers
    The Peruvian media market is highly concentrated and dominated by few traditional family-owned media conglomerates:
    • the El Comercio Group of the Miró Quesada family (including the dailies El Comercio, Peru21, Trome, Gestión and the broadcasting channel Canal N and Radio El Sol),
    • the radio network Radio Programas del Peru (with its radio stations Radio Felicidad, Studio 92, La Mega and the television channel RPP TV) and
    • the República Group by the Delgado Parker family (owning the dailies La República, El Popular and Libero and the television channel Panamericana Televisión).
    Due to the high concentration of audiences and advertising these conglomerates have achieved a powerful position in the media market (Freundt-Thurne et al., 2012: 69; Linnarz, 2004: 132). In many cases, the media owners maintain close ties with the high authorities of the country by marriage, friendship or economic interdependence. Regarding the popularity of the media, radio is most consumed directly followed by television also being the main source for news (Aldana-Durán, 2008: 185; Freundt-Thurne et al., 2012: 6). The rural nature (limited infrastructure, poverty, illiteracy) of the Peruvian society can be taken as the main explanation of this trend. Peru is a very poor country, with about half of the population living below the poverty line with rural areas worse off (Martínez, 2011: 7). In many cases, development aid from foreign donors like Misereor or the Konrad Adenauer Foundation is received, which also played an important role in the development of the community media. However, neither the broadcasting nor the press sector offer significant chances for growth without any improvement of the overall economic situation (Linnarz, 2004: 133).

    Broadcast TV
    Television enjoys, besides radio, great popularity in Peru. Most of the television stations are privately owned with only a few state-owned offers (Linnarz, 2004: 125; Willer, 2013). The most important players are six television networks including the big players América Televisión (market share: 37 per cent), Panamericana Televisión (36 per cent), Andina de Televisión (26 per cent) and the state-run TV Perú (Post, 2016b). The content mainly consists of entertainment, primarily imported from the USA and other Latin American countries (freelancer, 2016). Out of 105 television broadcasters most of the television stations (22) were located in Lima in 2011 (Alvarez et al., 2014: 8; Raiser, 2013). The use of broadcasting services is ensured by the National Telecommunications Law of 1993 (Pope, 2011). In order to offer broadcasting services, one must apply for an authorization, permit or license before the MTC (Montezuma Panez & Porto, 2016). In 2010, a Masterplan for the Development of Digital Terrestrial Television has been developed which gives exclusive channels to broadcasting stations operating in Lima – provincial broadcasters are only able to obtain a shared channel. Consequently, the law does not ensure healthy competition (Freundt-Thurne et al., 2012: 60).

    Radio enjoys the largest audience of all media in Peru with more than 2000 radio stations all over the country. One of the most important networks is Radio Programas del Peru being the only radio offer with a national reach. In contrast to television, radio is more decentralized: The Cajamarca region in the northern Andes is the leader in stations (320) with Lima only ranking third (U.S. Commercial Service, 2016). Radio represents the most popular medium in remote areas in terms of accessibility. For example, the community radio station Radio Sicuani, which provides entertainment in the high reaches of Canchis, and Radio Marañón, which has one of the highest audience rating of the north-eastern region. However, community media are not self-sustainable (and therefore dependent on donors) because they are operating in small markets, where there is almost no advertising (Martínez, 2011). “It is hard for community media to compete with commercial media given the programming they offer, which tends to target sectors of society with less purchasing power”, Paco Muguiro, director of Radio Marañón, explains (Martínez, 2011: 35).

    In contrast to the broadcasting sector, the Mexican newspaper market is less concentrated in its ownership-structure, with a fairly broad diversity in the urban print media (Freedom House 2015b). This fact can be explained by Mexican media history. In the past, subsidies and state support in advertising resulted in an overcrowded press market which persists until today. Yet, despite the vast number of newspapers in Mexico, readership is concentrated on just a few major publications which only have a rather small reach (Hughes 2008: 133). For example, the conservative daily El Universal (138.000), the liberal-conservative newspaper Reforma (circulation: 134.000) and the leftist daily La Jornada (108.000) are representing the biggest members of the press market (Federal Foreign Office Germany 2016). In Mexico City, 25 daily newspapers are available reaching only 1.5 million readers (Hughes 2008: 133) with the two major newspaper groups El Universal and Grupo Reforma dominating the market with their flagship newspapers and several tabloids. Concentrated on the capital city and provincial capitals, the press coverage is strongly focused on entertainment purposes, often being accused of tabloidization (Hughes 2008: 133). Newspapers dealing critically with political issues are rare – one of the most influential political journals is Proceso (McPhail 2009).

    About half of the Mexican population (2016: 54 per cent) – especially young people with higher education – is using the internet (Poushter 2016). Until its liberalization in 1997, internet development was slowed down by non-competitive behavior of the telecommunications company Telmex which held the monopoly on internet services back then (Hughes 2008: 148). Since then, the country has experienced a dramatic improvement in both internet penetration and quality of access making it the second biggest internet market in Latin America (after Brazil) caused by increasing digitalization and use of smartphones (McPhail 2009). The Mexican ICT market is highly concentrated with the telecommunications giant América Móvil owning 80 per cent of the landlines and 70 per cent of wireless internet subscriptions. In many cases, the internet (especially social media) is used as a platform for digital activism, allowing users to operate under the protection of anonymity. Blogs, Facebook and Twitter have become an important source for information when reporting is made impossible by the influence of drug cartels (Freedom House 2015a). In order to promote the network expansion, former president Vicente Fox launched the initiative e-méxico in 2003 which should guarantee internet access to all Mexican communities (Trejo Delabre 2004: 981). Despite these efforts, Mexico still suffers from a huge digital divide between the north and the south. Many people in rural areas cannot access the World Wide Web and therefore heavily rely on information of the traditional and often biased media. In 2014, only ten per cent of the population had access to the internet in the states of Chiapas and Oaxaca while more than half of the homes had access in Mexico City. However, the disparities were partially ameliorated by the availability of internet cafes (Freedom House 2015a: 3 et seq.).
    Journalists' autonomy
    Although media freedom is granted by the Mexican Constitution, there’s serious interference in the media system by politics and drug cartels (Hughes 2008: 147) which often consider autonomous journalists as a risk. Furthermore, high concentration of the media market and poor working conditions are regarded as a threat to media freedom in Mexico.

    Poor working conditions
    There are no official access restrictions to the journalistic profession in Peru. Vocational training or a university degree are not mandatory in order to start a journalistic career. However, most of the highly respected journalists own a university degree (freelancer, 2016). Besides shortcomings in journalists’ training, their working and financial conditions are often poor. Sometimes a journalist does not earn more than 1200 Soles ($400) a month, which does not always cover living expenses (freelancer, 2016). This makes Peruvian journalists susceptible to corruption leading to biased reporting. The interviewed freelancer therefore mentions, “Even though Fujimori has left there are still some ‘understandings’ between high authorities and the media” (freelancer, 2016). Only in a few cases, this bribery means the end of a career of a journalist (Linnarz, 2004). Furthermore, miserable working conditions for journalists working in remote areas like the Amazon region and low pay for online journalists create disparities between journalistic groups (Martínez, 2011: 34).

    Since there are no trade unions for Peruvian journalists bargaining is not possible (Linnarz, 2004: 122). In some cases, journalists switch to better-paying competitors, such as NGOs, which makes them less vulnerable to corruption. Thus, NGOs can be seen as a provider for a more independent journalism (Martínez, 2011: 33). Major donor activities are training of journalists, promotion of investigative reporting and the integration of remote (and often historically neglected) areas in the country by covering regional issues. IDL Radio, for instance, offers workshops for provincial journalists in technical training, journalistic ethics and reporting (Martínez, 2011). Civil associations funded by NGOs like the Association of Social Communicators Calandria, one of the most important media research organizations of Peru, developed a citizens’ watch which should probe the publics’ opinion of the press and organize public debates about media. Calandria also played an important role in establishing the Radio and Television Law, which made it a key player in media development (Martínez, 2011). However, despite the many advantages foreign donors provide, it must also be considered that investors can also influence reporting by setting agendas for the beneficiaries as a precondition for funding (Martínez, 2011: 37).

    Strong political and economic influence on the media sector
    The Peruvian media maintain strong political and economic ties because they depend on advertising by the state and large retailers. In order to avoid ad losses, journalists abstain from criticizing the government or economic groups – a fact which is influencing their way of reporting and therefore reducing their autonomy (Freedom House, 2016; Freundt-Thurne et al., 2012; Linnarz, 2004: 132; Martínez, 2011: 72). According to the Peruvian journalist Jacqueline Fowks “mainstream media does not do investigative reporting because of self-censorship, which some media organizations have to do to avoid a backlash from the government or the private sector which pay for advertising in their outlets. Most of the mainstream media cover news and provide information, but they do not unearth deep-seated corruption in the state sector” (Martínez, 2011: 30).

    This behaviour is also influencing the way journalism is perceived by the public: Since the Fujimori-era, where five of six commercial television stations and most of the tabloid press were bribed and censored by the government, TV, and press are less trusted by the population than radio and internet (Aldana-Durán, 2008: 185; Martínez, 2011: 15). Furthermore, the government can restrict access to broadcast licensing since it is granted by the MTC, which belongs to the executive branch. Moreover, poorly worded regulations allow the ministry to deny applications for licenses in an arbitrary manner (Freedom House, 2015). There are several cases when MTC intervened and canceled broadcasting licenses: Radio La Voz Bagua, for instance, was shut down in 2009 as it warned listeners during protests of attacks of government forces and allowed them to make announcements of the assaults on air. Afterward, it was explained that the operators of the radio station were accused by the García government of supporting terrorism (amerika21, 2010; Freundt-Thurne et al., 2012: 81; Martínez, 2011: 16). The station was later awarded at the Index on Censorship Freedom of Expression Awards for its outstanding journalism (The Guardian, 2016).

    Taboo issues
    Today, outright censorship is not practiced like during Fujimori and military times, but there’s still pressure on journalists to limit coverage of sensitive topics, like corruption, environmental topics, political mismanagement or misuse of state resources. “If it is a topic which is uncomfortable for the government, they will always try to hide it” (freelancer, 2016). The television program Claridad was canceled after the station faced severe threats because it reported critically of local officials (Freedom House, 2015). Furthermore, violence against journalists reporting about taboo issues is common. Journalists are threatened, kidnapped, tortured and killed for their reporting which often leads to self-censorship in order to protect themselves against hostility or punishment. Donny Buchelli Cueva (owner of Radio Solimar), for instance, was murdered in 2014 at home, because he was reporting on questionable ethics of some local electoral candidates (ibid.). In 2013, several attacks on journalists during protests against the building of a mine in Northern Peru were committed (Committee to Protect Journalists, 2013). A bomb exploded at the home of radio host and newspaper editor Yofré López Sifuentes due to his reporting on local corruption (Freedom House, 2015). According to the CPJ, 15 journalists have been killed in Peru since 1992 with reporting about corruption as the main reason for their deaths. Impunity still remains a problem: Only half of these murders were solved (Committee to Protect Journalists, 2016).

    Sometimes well-known journalists, like Cesar Hildebrandt, Beto Ortiz or Guido Lombardi, protect themselves by creating big stories. “They make such a scandal about this issue that everybody knows that it was this person disseminating the information. If something happens to (them), it is pretty obvious that it was the person who was affected by the reporting. Therefore, they often cannot take actions against the journalist” (freelancer, 2016). Furthermore, arbitrary justice (due to a poor worded legislation) and insufficient transparency make life difficult for journalists. Criminalization of offenses committed by the press (e.g. libel and defamation) leading to severe penalties, like imprisonment or high fines, are a common phenomenon (ibid.). According to the National Association of Journalists, more than 100 cases of defamation lawsuits were filed against journalists in the past five years in order to silence critical journalists (Reporters Without Borders, 2016). Regarding the taboo topics, blogs and social media platforms are often the only way to obtain reliable information. However, even online journalists have fallen victim to attacks: José Alejandro Godoy (owner of the blog Desde el Tercer Piso) was condemned for publishing a link which contained information about a politician who was involved in cases of corruption (Freundt-Thurne et al., 2012: 37). The case was later suspended because it was discovered that the judge of the trial was a member of the party in power (ibid.: 79).

    Media concentration
    Another factor is the high concentration of the media market (anonymous, 2016; freelancer, 2016; Martínez, 2011: 5). In 2013, one of the biggest media conglomerates, Grupo El Comercio, bought a majority stake in Grupo Epensa currently owning a market share of 80 per cent of the Peruvian press (Keller, 2014; Willer, 2013). The only competitor on the press market is the República Group with a market share of about 20 per cent. This supremacy position of only a few media outlets is negatively affecting diversity of opinion and, therefore, media freedom (anonymous, 2016; freelancer, 2016; Linnarz, 2004: 135). El Comercio now has the possibility to control the agenda of information and public opinion. Furthermore, journalists fear losing their job in the whole sector if they do not follow the market leaders. Journalist Augusto Alvarez Rodrich explains: “If you are fired, you are not fired from only one newspaper but from three newspapers, two radios, two TV channels, and thus, the possibility of getting a new job becomes much more complicated” (Freundt-Thurne et al., 2012: 69).

    Former president Humala also criticized the development in an interview with TV Perú: “It is a disgrace that in Peru there is a media group that practically owns everything. It is dangerous. (…) Freedom of expression is a value that can’t be monetized. It’s a fundamental right that has taken lives all over the world. And now they’re making it a business” (Buenos Aires Herald, 2013). Legally, media concentration is addressed in Article 61 of the Constitution which states that the media „cannot be objects of exclusivity, monopoly, or hoarding, directly or indirectly, by the State or private parties”. No media outlet is allowed to dominate the market. However, apart from the broadcasting sector, the legislation does not define what dominating the market really means. Furthermore, cross-ownership is neither included nor restricted by law. Besides its many newspapers El Comercio also is the largest shareholder of the two television channels América Televisión and Canal N (Cordier, 2013). In 2013, eight journalists of the competitive newspaper La República filed a constitutional complaint in order to block the merger (anonymous, 2016; Buenos Aires Herald, 2013). This approach, however, was highly unlikely to be successful, because the Constitutional Court is composed of judges who are close to the APRA (Alianza Popular Revolucionaria Americana) – the oldest Peruvian party, which already held close ties to the media owners in the terms of office of president García.

    Media centralization
    The Peruvian media are not only highly concentrated by also highly centralized. Most of the big players are located in Lima (Freundt-Thurne et al., 2012: 26). This centralization prevents information flow into the provinces, which are often excluded from reporting. Donor-funded media which focus on strengthening the cultural identity of the provinces could constitute a counterbalance to the Lima-centred mass media (Martínez, 2011: 7). These community media offer various benefits for the rural population by informing about regional events, strengthening the networking between regions and providing workshops for journalists. Furthermore, they offer educational programming and foster citizen participation by giving actors a voice who are not traditionally incorporated into the mass media discourse (freelancer, 2016). Thus, they can disseminate alternative information and operate as watchdogs of government if the mainstream media fail to do so. In 2009, several indigenous people who were protesting against the exploitation of the Amazonas region were murdered by the local police in the region of Bagua (Massacre of Bagua). While the mainstream media were highlighting the information disseminated from the police, radio stations were used to disseminate non-official information about the atrocities the traditional media were not covering (Freundt-Thurne et al., 2012: 53). Another attempt to decentralize the media is the project TV-Cultura, a non-profit organization, which connects 37 television stations from different localities across the country. Thus, a multi-directional flow of information was made possible marking a shift in television production (Martínez, 2011: 30).
    This country report is largely based on two interviews which have been conducted by the author in summer 2016. The author thanks the two interviewees for their support.

    Interviewed experts (via Skype, email)
    • A peruvian freelancer (journalist, author & blogger)
    • A peruvian private person (anonymous)
    Related Links
    Recommended citation form
    Katharina Dorn: Peru. In: Michael Meyen (ed.), Mapping Media Freedom. LMU Munich: Department of Communication Studies and Media Research 2017. (access date).

    Alberto Fujimori: One of the biggest predators of press freedom in Peru. Source (©Karen L. Sanders):

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