El Salvador Political Orientation
MBFC’s Country Freedom Rating: 53.68 – Moderate Freedom
World Press Freedom Rank: El Salvador 115/180
Freedom House reports, “Harassment and acts of violence in response to coverage of corruption and organized crime have often led journalists to engage in self-censorship.” Freedom House rates El Salvador Partly Free in Freedom in the World 2022 report. Furthermore, Reporters without Borders ranked El Salvador 115th out of 180 countries in its annual press freedom index.
Media Ownership and Government Analysis
Most broadcast media outlets in El Salvador are privately owned, with television being the most prominent medium; nonetheless, they are controlled by a few business groups that exercise editorial power. Channel 10 (The Television Channel of El Salvador) is the public TV station the Government of El Salvador owns. There are many commercial radio broadcast stations and one government-owned radio broadcast station.
Sixteen business groups own 25 channels of commercial TV stations. Telecorporación Salvadoreña (TCS) is the most profitable group. Its main shareholder is the Eserki family. Boris Eserski, who passed away recently, was known as the Salvadoran Rupert Murdoch and was close to the right-wing political party Nationalist Republican Alliance (ARENA).
Further, there are many privately owned religious channels, such as Canal 19, a commercial TV channel owned by Group Megavisión. Group Megavisión is a Salvadoran broadcasting company operating three television channels and over twenty national radio stations.
Two families have dominated the print media market: Grupo Dutriz (Dutríz Hermanos) owns La Prensa Gráfica, the country’s most circulated newspaper, as well as El Heraldo de Oriente and the sports paper El Gráfico, while the Altamiranos (Grupo Editorial Altamirano,) own El Diario de Hoy.
Finally, State-owned news outlets promote government propaganda while criticizing the opposition. In May 2021, President Nayib Bukele removed Constitutional Chamber magistrates and the attorney general without following the constitutional process. According to the nation’s press union, journalists have been prevented from press briefings and harassed and intimidated online by Bukele followers, mainly when the president or one of his associates attacks them on Twitter. The Bukele government has also accused online private media outlet El Faro of questionable tax and money laundering charges after they investigated Bukele.
In conclusion, corporate media dominate the print and broadcast media that powerful families own, limiting media pluralism. The government also exerts its control through state-controlled news outlets and the communications team of President Nayib Bukele. Generally, the press has limited freedom in El Salvador.
Last Updated on May 12, 2023 by Media Bias Fact Check
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