El Salvador announces plan to make state-run television, radio stations autonomous

The government of El Salvador has announced a plan to make state television and radio broadcasters autonomous public media with the aim of preventing the outlets from being used to serve ruling political interests, reported the news agency AFP.

The plan, supported by the World Bank, was unveiled Thursday, June 16, by David Rivas, the secretary of presidential communications, at the Forum on Public Media, Citizenship and Democracy. Rivas said that for years state radio and television have been "subject to political whims," but that the current administration of President Mauricio Funes is promoting a process to give more independence to state media so they can fulfill their goal of public service, reported El Nuevo Herald.

"This irreversible process is the construction of a system of public media for the country,and this government believes that we should bet on this as a legacy of the this government...in service to Salvadorans," Rivas said, as quoted by Terra.

The Funes administration also is planning to create a state news agency and expand the state radio station, Radio El Salvador, according to La Página.

The Salvadoran government controls the radio station Radio Nacional and Channel 10 on television, "that in the past served to legitimize coups or impose censorship...invoking the principle of 'national security,'" Rivas said, as quoted by La Prensa.

Note from the editor: This story was originally published by the Knight Center’s blog Journalism in the Americas, the predecessor of LatAm Journalism Review.

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