Oportunities and lacks in Media regulation
- The Peruvian state recognizes and protects freedom of information, expression and opinion and the right to do so, through diverse media. At the same time, the Constitution recognizes and protects ethnic and cultural plurality and defines, as illegal and prohibited practices against freedom of expression and information, media exclusivity, monopoly and concerning.
- The text of the Constitution referring to exclusivity, monopoly and cornering is developed in the Radio and Television Law (2004), in which an ex ante control is established that limits the number of radio and television licenses that an operator can hold by band and locality.
- However, there is no general anti-monopoly law or specific regulation which covers the print and other media. Nor is cross-ownership prohibited. Nor are owners of radio and television obliged, beyond the normal laws applying to business associations, to make public their market share or their advertising income, nor their shareholder composition. The definition of cornering in the case of radio and television is not based on market share (audience and/or publicity) of the operating companies.
- We therefore consider that that in the case of implementation of television policies and regulations, there is room for political discretion by the responsible authority, the Ministry of Transport and Communications, given that the designation of ministers and high-level officials depend on the Executive, which does not confer political autonomy on the regulator. The Radio and Television Consultative Council exists, but its opinions are not binding.
- We find that the approach with underlies the legal framework and policy implementation in the media sector is one of non-intervention in issues of censorship, but is not one of promotion of the exercise of rights by people or collectives which do not have the resources or the ability to own and manage media such as radio and television, for example associations with promote education and community media.
- Since the conception and implementation of the Radio and Television Law in 2005, decisions have been taken by the Congress and the Executive which have not favored radio and television pluralism and diversity. For example, prior to the current law, the limit for radio and television licenses was by band and locality (Telecommunications Law 1993). The preferential treatment for intended under the Radio and Television Law for the educational and community stations in particular, has not been vigorously applied and promoted given that price is the most important criterion in license tenders. This has marginalized community media in terms of their location and signal strength. No mechanisms have been established to assist indigenous communities, campesinos and other collectives in vulnerable situations. Instead of widening media diversity and plurality, the implementation of digital television has strengthened the Lima business groups at national level.
- Two opportunities for state action are not well exploited to increase media diversity and plurality. The Peru National Institute of Radio and Television (IRTP) has no editorial autonomy from government and has made little effort to decentralize its production. The state´s expenditure on institutional publicity and campaigns in the public interest follows market patterns in that it privileges audience levels and/or readership to determine but not incorporate, in practice, decentralization and equity criteria in advertising investment.
For further information, review the paper "Estudio del marco legal sobre la concentración de medios de comunicación en el Perú" by Jorge Acevedo.