The MOM Project arose from the need to find out who are the real owners of the country's most important media, what political affiliations or economic interests motivate their business decisions and in which other sectors of the economy they have investments.
It is mainly families that exercise media power in Peru. Of the ten groups investigated by MOM Peru, six are owned by close relatives, for example, brothers, cousins, parents and children. The Capuñay family of Corporación Universal is a case in point. In the case of the Miro Quesada family of the El Comercio Group, the ownership has been maintained over many generations.
The financial interests have not been diversified. Apart from the individual investments of the proprietors, the media groups themselves remain almost exclusively invested in the communications sector. The El Comercio Group is however the exception. It is the strongest and most diversified of all, with a presence in the education, real estate and entertainment industries, as well as having investments in Chile, Colombia and Bolivia. The panorama is changing slowly and with generation change this is set to intensify.
What Defines The Content?
Most media production with national reach is developed in Lima. The forty media investigated for MOM Peru were selected because of their high ratings and income, as well as their importance. Some 17 broadcast news and information with in-depth analysis. The remainder are dedicated to entertainment. The difference is more marked in the radio and television sub sectors: only RPP Noticias (radio) and RPP TV and Canal N (TV) are 100% news and information.
With few exceptions, regional media take no particular editorial stance. It is extremely easy to obtain radio or television airtime in regional areas. Anyone able to afford the amount requested by the administrator (between 500 and 1000 soles per month for a one-hour radio block and between 2,500 and 3,000 soles per month for television) can do so. The licensee uses the radio or television frequency, which is rented like a platform, to offer his or her point of view about political or social events in the region. By addressing controversial issues, some licensees have become popular and have subsequently sought mayorship with relative success.
Politics and Media
Unlike the findings from other MOM countries such as Turkey and Tunisia, no active or inactive political group controls any media with a national audience. There is one example at regional level. The UCV Satelital television channel is owned by César Acuña Peralta, businessman and politician, founder of the César Vallejo University, former mayor of Trujillo, former congressman and presidential candidate in the 2016 elecion.
Nevertheless, the influence of political actors is felt in the media in two obvious ways: the treatment of information and the advertising quotas. One could observe that the affinity a media outlet maintains with a public servant or political authority affects the tenor of the relationship. Where they have opposing views, the media will be incisive, critical and severe when commenting about the administration. Where interests are shared, the media will be kinder, praising the positive and defending errors. For its part, the authority will reward the media with access to information, “exclusive interviews” and it will increase the advertising quota.
The obligation on central, regional and local governments to defend their choice of media for state advertising is not always complied with. On occasion, they favor friendly media and ignore those which question or criticize.