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Caribbean & Central America - March 2019

REGION: Media concentration continues to hamper Central American democracy

Although, strictly speaking, no country in Central America has a media monopoly in the sense of a single corporation owning all media outlets, concentration remains high. Moreover, major outlets continue to be owned by oligarchies – typically wealthy landowning elites that made their fortune during the region’s coffee boom – or by powerful Mexican media mogul Ángel González, who has been repeatedly accused of funding election campaigns throughout the region and using his media empire to squeeze out opposition voices. Media concentration in Central America continues to reduce the range of news, information, and perspectives available to citizens and thus remains one of the greatest challenges for the region’s fledgling democracies. Although new digital media outlets are increasingly challenging the power of the mainstream media, illiteracy and low Internet penetration rates continue to limit their influence.

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