Who should pay the bill for journalism in Latin America?

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  • February 3, 2010

By Dean Graber

Latin American newspapers will only survive with help from the state, but not by continuing to rely on the government for placing ads, longtime media observer Eduardo Bertoni writes for the Huffington Post.

“Governments must adopt clear public policies to strengthen democracies by, for example, granting subsidies and tax benefits in favor of newspapers,” writes Bertoni, director for the Center for Studies on Freedom at Argentina's Palermo University School of Law. He is former special rapporteur for freedom of expression for the Organization of American States.

Funding models being explored and tested in other regions—i.e. paid content, private ads, and revenues from endowments—aren’t good solutions for Latin America, he says.

“The idea to transform newspaper companies into some sort of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that would be supported by the revenues from a wealthy endowment will not work in Latin America. Such structure is possible in countries where a substantial group of people is willing to donate funds for this sort of projects, and where there are clear and predictable legal frameworks that allow for secure investments in a financial system such as a stock market. It is unlikely that this combination would exist in Latin America.”

Read Bertoni’s complete column here.

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.