Colombia Political Orientation
Government Type: Republic under Authoritarian Presidential Rule
Leader: President Gustavo Petro
Political Party: Historic Pact for Colombia
Political Position: Left-Wing populism
MBFC’s Country Freedom Rating: 57.62 – Moderate Freedom
World Press Freedom Rank: Colombia 139/180
Freedom House reports, “violence declined as the government and the country’s main left-wing guerrilla group moved toward a peace accord signed in 2016.” Furthermore, Reporters Without Borders ranked Colombia 145/180 countries in its annual press freedom index, stating that it remains one of the most dangerous countries for journalists to work in.
Media Ownership and Government Analysis
Media ownership is concentrated in the hands of a few wealthy families, such as Carlos Ardilla Lülle, Alejandro Santo Domingo, and Luis Carlos Sarmiento Angulo. The Lulle family is one of Colombia’s most affluent families and owns a conglomerate consisting of Canal RCN and the Radio Network RCN. The RCN Radio Network has more than 160 stations; meanwhile, Canal RCN is the second most popular channel.
The other wealthy family is Luis Carlos Sarmiento Angulo, who controls construction and Colombia’s banking industry and owns El Tiempo newspaper. Alejandro Santo Domingo on the other hand owns Caracol Televisión through his holding company Grupo Valorem. In 2021, Spanish media conglomerate PRISA debuted in Colombia, acquiring Radio Network Caracol. Due to the strong concentration of media ownership, few companies influence public opinion; these companies are primarily associated with one or the other of the two dominant political parties. Among state-owned networks is Radio Nacional de Colombia.
Another issue is the Colombian Criminal Code, which criminalizes defamation. This results in intimidation of journalists, such as in the case of Journalist José Alberto Tejada.
In summary, the concentration of media ownership in the hands of a few wealthy families and the conglomerates owned by these families reduces the diversity of viewpoints, thereby limiting media pluralism in Colombia. In some cases, such as in The Santos family (owner of El Tiempo between 1913 and 2007), they are directly involved in politics. For example, Eduardo Santos was the president between 1938 and 1942, while Juan Manuel Santos, his great-nephew, was also the president between 2010-2018.
Last Updated on May 12, 2023 by Media Bias Fact Check
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