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By comparison with its more volatile neighbors, historians have noted the orderly and peaceful evolution of democracy in Chile and a venerable tradition of respect for civic values and the written law. From 1932 until General Pinochet’s coup in 1973, eight elected presidents alternated in power under the provisions of a single constitution, and six of them served their full six-year term (presidents Pedro Aguirre Cerda (1938-1941) and Juan Antonio Ríos (1942-1946) died in office). However, this surface order is deceptive. Chronic and recurrent political instability in the nineteenth century due to conflicts between rival cliques in the ruling elites and the military helped establish a tradition of strong centralized government, which came to be seen as a sine qua non of stable development.

Alternations between instability and strong government have continued in the present century and mounted in intensity. Beginning in the 1930s, and increasingly in later decades, left-wing parties, labor unions, and peasant organizations expanded, and part of Chile’s growing middle class became more radical in its demands, reflecting the deep social and economic inequalities dividing the nation. The country veered from a Popular Front administration which included radicals, socialists, and communists (Pedro Aguirre Cerda), to one which expelled communists from the government, banned the Communist Party altogether and disenfranchised its members (Gabriel González Videla). The strains in the political system were evident in the violent reaction of the conservative elite to land reform measures, part of the “Revolution in Liberty” proclaimed by the government of Eduardo Frei Montalva (1964-1970), father of the current president.

During the Frei government the Socialist Party converted to revolutionary Marxism and, inspired by the model of Cuba, extreme-left Marxist groups such as the Movement of the Revolutionary Left (Movimiento de la Izquierda Revolucionaria, MIR) emerged, advocating the overthrow of the state by direct action. In September 1970, a Socialist, Salvador Allende Gossens, was elected president, heading a coalition of Marxist and left-of-center parties known as the Popular Unity (Unidad Popular, UP), whose program included extensive nationalization of foreign assets and land reform. Left-wing hopes that governmental power achieved through the ballot-box could pave the way for revolutionary change sparked violent opposition from the right. As parliamentary criticism by the UP’s Christian Democrat (centrist) and NationalParty (right-wing) opponents intensified, the country polarized between the UP’s militant supporters and its adversaries outside parliament. Both sides increasingly took the law into

their hands, with the respective acquiescence of the government and its powerful right-wing opponents. With mounting economic chaos and the collapse of parliamentary negotiations to bring the sides together, the country neared the brink of civil war. On September 11, 1973, the Chilean armed forces overthrew the UP government in a violent coup led by Gen. Augusto Pinochet, Allende’s own appointee as commander-in-chief of the army. Initially greeted with relief by a broad section of the population, the coup extinguished democracy for seventeen years. While the military junta introduced radical measures to privatize the economy, its secret police decimated both the parties of the UP and the extra parliamentary left, using clandestine and illegal methods including torture, extrajudicial execution and enforced “disappearance,” as well as imprisonment, exile, and internal banishment.

The origins of today’s center-left government can be traced back to 1983, when the first glimmerings of organized opposition to the military coalesced into an alliance which included leaders of the Christian Democrats, the Radical Party, and a sector of the Socialist Party (the political parties were still in recess). In October 1988 General Pinochet lost a crucial plebiscite on the continuance of his rule, and in December 1989, Patricio Aylwin Azócar, leading a coalition of center and center-left parties known as the Coalition of Parties for Democracy (Concertación de Partidos por la Democracia) was elected president. Following elections held in December 1993, Aylwin was succeeded in March 1994 by his fellow Christian Democrat, Eduardo Frei Ruiz-Tagle.

Under the Aylwin and Frei administrations, Chile has attracted international admiration for its economic achievements and political stability. The economy has averaged an annual growth of 7 percent, while inflation has been reduced to single digits after being in the range of 30 percent at the end of the 1980s. Unemployment also has been greatly reduced, and a dent has been made in the abysmal living standards of the very poor (the number living below the poverty line was reduced from 45 percent in 1987 to 23 percent in 1996).49 Continuing political violence and military tension during the Aylwin government have given way to a period remarkably free of overt social conflict during most of the Frei presidency. Violent actions by left-wing armed groupshave ceased, and since the appointment in 1998 of Pinochet’s successor as commander-in-chief, Gen. Ricardo Izurieta, the army has reduced its political profile.

This political stability has been bought at a high price, however. Eight years after the return of democracy the country remains unreconciled with its conflictive recent past. The armed forces, and particularly the army, have shunned national efforts at an honest accounting for the events of the 1970s and their aftermath. Justice has been done in only a handful of emblematic human rights cases; for the rest, an amnesty law favoring the military introduced by Pinochet in 1978 and the torpor of the courts have conspired to ensure impunity.

Neither Presidents Aylwin or Frei have been able to implement most of the Concertacion's program of constitutional reform due to the resistance of a powerful conservative bloc in the Senate, supplemented by a group of senators appointed by the military and the Supreme Court. Adding to these political limitations is a growing impression of indifference toward the political elites on the part of the rest of the population, especially among those born during the dictatorship. This apathy was confirmed by a record low turn-out in the December 1997 parliamentary elections.

Although muted in the early years of democracy, dissent and uneasiness about the country’s course have grown recently. Critics allege that democratic leaders have renounced open and pluralistic debate on ethical values and principle in favor of pragmatic transactions with business elites and the military, to avoid jeopardizing the country’s economic achievements and hard-won political stability.50 The price of this form of politics, as two government coalition scholars have put it, is “a tendency to hermeticism, a deficient understanding of differing opinion, and a reluctance to impart a democratic political message.”51 One result of this overprotective zeal is that the country has come to accept often unstated but nevertheless powerful limits to the public debate, seen in widespread self-censorship as well as direct censorship and legalconstraints. Underlying these limits is an implicit concern to protect society from free expression and criticism, an impulse to regulate rather than stimulate debate.52

Public Debate and the Print Media Prior to 1970

Competing traditions of liberalism and conservative restraint can be seen in the history of Chile’s print media. Until the military coup of September 11, 1973, Chile enjoyed a vigorous and heterogenous press. It combined newspapers of well-established pedigree that expressed the viewpoint of the dominant class, with a wide range of newspapers and periodicals linked directly or indirectly to political parties, ranging from the center to the far left. The absence of any truly broad and politically ecumenical newspaper was compensated by the diversity of competing political media available. This heterogeneity of viewpoint was protected by constitutional guarantees and statutes upholding press freedoms that date back to the early years of the republic.

In practice, however, this liberal tradition has had to contend with an equally powerful strain of authoritarianism. This has emerged recurrently during the episodes of instability which have marked Chilean history. Following the growth of radical political movement in the 1940s and 1950s, pluralism was curtailed by laws banning communism and severely restricting political rights and freedom of expression. Although subsequently amended, many provisions intended to protect democracy in the face of popular challenges from the left and the right were incorporated into subsequent legislation, and many remain in force today. With a return to a liberal regime in the 1960s, a competitive and highly politicized press flourished as social conflicts and popular demands grew in force. After intense ideological polarization, that period came to an end with the military coup of September 11, 1973.

It is possible to trace both liberalism and a tradition of authoritarian government to the early years of the republic after Chile asserted independence from Spain in 1810. Norms governing the emerging press were more liberal then than the many revisions that followed. The first press law (ley deimprenta), promulgated in 1813, a year after the appearance of Chile’s first newspaper, Aurora de Chile, stated in its first article: “From today there will be entire and absolute freedom of publication (libertad de imprenta). Man has a right to examine whatever object is in his grasp: consequently all revisions, approvals and any requirements that are opposed to the free publication of his writings are abolished.” Anyone who directly or indirectly violated freedom of the press was considered to have attacked “the liberty of the nation” (la libertad nacional) and could be deprived of their citizenship.53 Punishment for press offenses was limited to fines, and cases were heard, not by criminal courts as later, but by press juries (jurados de imprenta), special lay courts presided over by a tenured judge. These norms remained in force for thirty-five years.

For much of the nineteenth century, however, Chile was governed by conservative civilian leaders who answered to a small governing class that included the landowners who controlled the semi-feudal rural estates known as haciendas, domestic capitalists and mine-owners.54 The prevailing political philosophy was a far remove from the radical non-conformism that shaped modern conceptions of democracy and civil rights in the leading countries of Europe. Chile lacked an entrepreneurial middle class. Liberal-republican ideas were grafted onto an archaic social system based on relations of subservience, and moral values were the almost exclusive preserve of the Roman Catholic Church. The new republic’s first durable constitution, promulgated in 1833, gave the president and the executive branch virtual control of the political system and maintained Catholicism as the official religion of the state. It also, however, established some individual rights and liberties, among them freedom of expression and the prohibition of prior censorship.

By the 1830s the Chilean press was still young, and restricted in its readership to a small educated elite. The government used a system of subsidies to develop the press as a tool for promoting the law, developing a nationalidentity and stimulating trade.55 The constitution only envisaged light fines for infractions of press laws, and prison sentences were only introduced years later.56 The introduction of repressive controls began only after the press had begun to acquire a mass audience.

During the latter half of the nineteenth century the press was dominated by private and state-subsidized newspapers. Among the important papers of the time were El Mercurio of the port city Valparaíso, Latin America’s oldest surviving newspaper; the government-subsidized El Ferrocarril; and El Progreso. In 1901 Agustín Edwards Ross, a prominent banker, founded the Santiago El Mercurio, today still the standard-bearer of the Chilean press, and another more popular paper, Las Ultimas Noticias, in 1902. El Mercurio developed a distinctive style, cultivating an olympian detachment from the power struggles of the day, while firmly defending the viewpoint of the conservative elite.

Thereafter, the growth of a new urban middle-class readership increased the importance of the press as an independent political actor. New papers expressing the viewpoints of the urban middle class included La Patria of Valparaíso (founded in 1863), La República (founded in 1866), and La Nación (founded in 1917 but acquired by the state in 1927). The growth in the late nineteenth century of an organized urban working class in the nitrate mining centers of the north and other industrial towns produced an avalanche of Democratic Party, socialist, and anarcho-syndicalist pamphlets and newspapers. By the 1950s, movements for social and economic reform had given birth to a new generation of opposition newspapers linked closely to political parties, in particular Las Noticias de Ultima Hora, allied with the Socialist Party (1935); the Communist Party organ El Siglo (1940); the Radical Party’s mouthpiece La Tercera (1950); and the left-wing Clarín (1954). These papers were political intheir origins and agenda and limited in their readership (the left-wing media together accounted for only 25 percent of the market at the height of their influence during the Frei Montalva and Allende governments). None achieved a status that transcended the political band of their readership. By contrast, the El Mercurio chain, owned by the Edwards family, preserved its hold on the market and never lost its unique capacity to mold the political agenda.

Many of the features of the present democratic system in Chile can be found in the constitution promulgated in September 1925 by the government of Arturo Alessandri Palma. Alessandri had previously held power from 1920-1924 when he introduced important social reforms and separated church and state. Unable to control hostile infighting in Congress or to satisfy the military’s increasingly insistent demands that he assert control, Alessandri was forced from power on September 11, 1924. After six presidents had alternated in office, he returned in March 1925, only to be ousted again seven months later. The 1925 constitution was intended to put an end to the chaotic infighting in parliament that had hamstrung Alessandri’s earlier government; it established an even stronger executive branch than the 1833 constitution. In the early years of the new legal regime, however, the country still hovered perilously between authoritarian government and instability; the dictatorship of former Minister of War Carlos Ibañez del Campo (1927-1931) was followed by a succession of eight presidents between July 1931 and December 1932, when Alessandri, elected for a third term, availed himself of emergency powers to reimpose order. The 1925 constitution remained in force, permitting an orderly succession of elected governments until the overthrow of Allende.

For most of this period, the press was regulated by a Decree Law (No.425) which is strikingly similar in many aspects to the press law currently in force. Like the current law, whose provisions we analyze in the next chapter, Decree Law 425 introduced comprehensive, detailed, and punitive restrictions on press freedom. It prohibited the publication of information about a person’s private life, information on court proceedings in libel cases, and offenses to a foreign head of state, among others. Its anti-pornography provisions are virtually identical to those still in force.

Freedom of expression and public order

Freedom of expression was also limited by a new generation of laws to protect national security and public order. Following a period of political turbulence and rapid succession of governments, a series of laws enacted in 1931, 1932 and 1937 made it a crime against state security to publish tendentious or false information, to defend violence or to propagate subversivedoctrines. The current State Security Law contains many of the same proscriptions.57

With the advent of the Cold War in the late 1940s — a time of growing labor unrest and left-wing political activity in Chile — new laws were enacted with an evidently repressive intent. Following elections in September 1946, radicals and communists held ministerial posts in the cabinet of President Gabriel González Videla (1946-1952). Further communist successes in local elections and a wave of communist-led strikes in 1947, however, provoked González into a dramatic about-face. After dismissing the communist cabinet members he banned the Communist Party and detained scores of leftist leaders in a prison camp on Chile’s deserted northern coast (later to be used for the same purpose by General Pinochet).

In 1948 González enacted the so-called Law of Permanent Defense of Democracy (Ley de Defensa Permanente de la Democracia), which outlawed the Communist Party and banned the expression of ideas which appeared to advocate “the implantation in the republic of a regime opposed to democracy or which attack the sovereignty of the country.” The law gave the executive branch legal powers to repress dissent equivalent to those imposed during a state of emergency. It remained in force for a full decade, marking a hiatus in Chile’s democratic development.58 By disenfranchising members of the Communist Party and banning the expression of Marxist ideas it violated constitutional rights, including the right to vote and freedom of expression. In 1958 President Carlos Ibañez repealed the law for electoral reasons. The preamble of the repeal bill harshly criticized the law — which Ibañez had himself used against the communists — as “a legislative transgression of the principle of freedom of thought.”

Before leaving office in 1958 Ibañez enacted Law No.12,927, known as the State Security Law (Ley de Seguridad del Estado), which ended the proscription of the Communist Party and restored penalties for crimes against state security and public order to levels comparable with those that existed prior to 1948. However, the State Security Law retained several other loosely defined political crimes from the Law of Permanent Defense of Democracy. Despite some modifications by both General Pinochet and President Aylwin, the formerto toughen its provisions, the latter to relax them, the State Security Law remains in force.

From this brief summary, it is evident that for the past fifty years public order in Chile has been protected by rigorous and detailed legislation, used by successive governments with varying degrees of severity. As we note in Chapter III, this legislation has traditionally covered political speech as much as anti-government action.

Under Ibañez’s successor, Jorge Alessandri Rodríguez, other freedom of expression restrictions were introduced, this time motivated by a desire to control the sensationalism of the popular press. The brainchild of Alessandri’s Justice Minister Enrique Ortúzar (later one of the drafters of the current constitution), a law introduced in 1964 dubbed the “gag law” (ley mordaza) made it an offense to publish “any information or comment harmful to the dignity, reputation, honor or creditworthiness of a person;” it also became illegal to publish news “of a sensational character about criminal events.” This prohibition was directed at the so-called “red stories” (crónica roja) — inserts usually in red ink or large type with lurid accounts of crimes and atrocities — which had become a staple feature of the popular press.59 Despite the repeal of these features by the government of Frei Montalva, other provisions of Ortúzar’s “gag law” became the basis for much of the legislation that regulates the media today, in particular the Law on Abuses of Publicity, promulgated by Frei Montalva in September 1967.

Trench Warfare: The Press Under the Popular Unity Government


The three-year period of the Popular Unity government was notable for the unbridled competition of ideology and viewpoint in the national press, expressing the increasingly bitter divisions in the nation as a whole. A record number of newspapers and magazines circulated, ranging between both poles of the political spectrum. Rather than attempt to repress the vociferous opposition his policies generated, President Allende sought to combat it by an equally aggressive communications policy using the various media at the government’s disposal and compulsory government broadcasts (cadenas nacionales). On both sides of the political divide, new publications emerged whose sole purpose was to take sides in the political fray. Reasoned debate increasingly degenerated into political diatribe, hyperbole, and the vilification of political opponents. Like presidents before and since, Allende made use of the State Security Law in an effort to silence his most die-hard critics, but this law was also used on several occasions by opposition parliamentarians against the pro-government press.

Before taking office, UP leaders had reached agreement with the Christian Democrats to broaden and strengthen civil liberty guarantees in the constitution in exchange for their votes in the parliamentary run-off between Allende and Alessandri which brought the coalition to power. The reforms ensured political pluralism and freedom of the press, explicitly granting all political parties access to media owned or controlled by the government, as well as those privately owned; it allowed political parties to found and maintain newspapers, periodicals, and radio stations and prevented them from being expropriated unless both chambers of Congress approved the measure. It also expressly stipulated that no one could be prosecuted for holding or expressing any political idea.60

The existence of this agreement limited government interference with the press. On both sides the papers freely engaged in a communications battle for or against Allende. Pro-Allende tabloids like the communist Puro Chile and Clarín resorted to sexual innuendo, scatological humor, and even racism — particularly directed at politicians and entrepreneurs of Jewish or Arab extraction — to lampoon opponents.61 The UP’s critics were dismissed as reactionaries (“momios”), “seditious,” “mercenaries,” conspirators, etc.62 On the other side, right-wing tabloids like PEC and Sepa portrayed Allende as a drunk and a womanizer. Sepa carried a satirical strip called El Reyecito (the little king), in which the Marxist president appeared in a crown and ermine-lined robe. Left-wing leaders were mocked for their alleged bourgeois life-styles.63

On February 14, 1971, Press Day, Allende announced the formation of Operation Truth, a commission of journalists to counteract the “curtain of lies” allegedly spread by the opposition press and picked up by the international wire services.64 In a speech on March 31, 1971, Allende said, “I have tolerated this only because I want to teach a moral attitude, because the people cannot be touched by these epithets from mercenaries in the pay of foreign money.”65 The president’s indignation at opposition press distortion was matched by the anger of opposition parliamentarians at being portrayed as seditious conspirators because they disagreed with UP policies. Senate President Patricio Aylwin accused Allende on television of remaining silent about the excesses of the official press. The government-owned La Nación reported Aylwin’s speech in an article titled “Conspirators speak in national broadcast.” La Nación said it was part of a “campaign of terror” against the UP.66 In April 1971 left-wing journalists formed an association to defend the government against what they denounced as the phony objectivity of the establishment press. El Mercurio denounced the initiative as totalitarian and said it was “aimed at ensuring that only one version of what is happening in Chile prevails, the official one.”67

Under the Nixon administration, the United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) channeled funds to the anti-Allende press both before and after the 1970 elections, as part of a covert plan to prevent Allende’s election and subsequently to destabilize his government. The CIA funded anti-Allende publications, produced and disseminated in the press articles forecasting economic collapse, and maintained agents in the major newspapers, such as El Mercurio. According to the Senate Select Committee to Study Governmental Operations with Respect to Intelligence Activities (the “Church Committee”), the CIA disbursed more than 12 million dollars on press intervention between 1963 and 1973.68

As the violence and unrest increased, the government used states of emergency to force privately owned radio stations to broadcast government information, despite judicial decisions finding these actions unconstitutional. Stations that refused to do so were taken off the air, and others were closed for broadcasting calls to participate in protests and strike activity.

With the increasing polarization of the press, reporting standards lapsed notably on both sides, as did any pretense at objectivity. Numerous suits for contempt of authority under the Law of State Security were lodged both by the executive branch and its parliamentary opponents. President Allende filed charges against Sepa and its editor Rafael Otero on several occasions, as well as against the editor of the Mercurio-owned La Segunda. Patricio Aylwin, then president of the Senate, sued a journalist of La Nación for a comment on a Senate debate he considered offensive to the Senate’s honor, and several parliamentarians sued the editor of Puro Chile for defamation.69

The National Commission of Truth and Reconciliation, established by President Patricio Aylwin almost two decades later to investigate human rights violations committed by the military government, passed a harsh judgment on the role of the press in this era. It found that the deterioration of press standards had contributed to the breakdown of the political consensus and the outbreak of open violence:

Finally, in describing the final phase of the 1970-1973 crisis, we cannot ignore the role of the media. Some media, especially certain widely read newspapers on both sides, went to incredible lengths to destroy the reputations of theiradversaries, and to that end they were willing to make use of all weapons. Since on both sides political enemies were being presented as contemptible, it seemed just, if not necessary, to wipe them out physically, and on a number of occasions there were open calls for that to happen.70

The military government was to use the same argument to justify repression of the pro-UP press that followed the military coup, conveniently forgetting the aggressive anti-Allende campaign in the right-wing press. The papers that had attacked the Allende government using the methods described by the commission quietly ceased publication after the coup, and some of their most outspoken journalists were appointed to government posts.71 As we note below, pro-Allende journalists were imprisoned, tortured, exiled, and some were executed or “disappeared” after their newspapers had been forcibly closed.

Freedom of Expression Under the Military (1973-1990)

The onslaught on press freedoms and the repression of political dissent in the aftermath of the military coup were harsher, more drastic and sweeping, than anything seen before in Chilean history. All the press that had backed the former government were closed or expropriated, and in some cases their premises were destroyed. Hundreds of journalists were forced to flee the country or thrown out of work, others were banished to distant regions. Television stations were brought under government control and the universities intervened by rectors appointed by the military. In the years that followed, the regime used virtually every method in the censor’s repertoire: prior censorship of news and opinion, the banning of films for ideological reasons, concoction and dissemination of false information, impounding of publications, closures,the enforcement of draconian national security laws, harassment and intimidation.72

Twenty three journalists were killed or “disappeared” by government agents in the period from 1973 and 1990. Twice that number of press staff or associates, journalism students and print workers met the same fate. None of the authors of these crimes have been brought to justice, and the fate of the “disappeared” is still unknown.73

On the day of the coup, with the country under state of siege regulations, the armed forces shut down radio stations, bombing or confiscating their transmitters, and closed Clarín, Noticias de Ultima Hora, El Siglo, Punto Final, Puro Chile, and the Cuban agency Prensa Latina. Within the next few days they had taken over La Nación and raided the publishing house Quimantú, shredding left-wing publications on the spot. Justifying these measures one year later, a government official accused these publications of the “licentiousness unleashed by the official press of [Allende’s government]...its degrading vocabulary and twisted manipulation of the news.”74 By April 1975 the Journalists Association reported that 400 journalists had lost their jobs as a result of these measures, 200 had left the country, and fourteen were in prison. The authorized press, which included all of the Mercurio chain La Tercera, Qué Pasa, and the independent review Ercilla were subjected to prior censorship.

With all of the pro-Allende press silenced, critical comment by the permitted press was kept within close limits by prior censorship and exemplary sanctions. Pinochet’s political police, the Dirección de Inteligencia Nacional (DINA), deliberately leaked information to the press about the persecution of dissidents, who were typically portrayed as dangerous subversives and delinquents. Strict controls applied to the publication of any information likely to convey an impression of disorder or opposition to the government, and the DINA concocted information for public consumption about controversial issues.75 Manipulation of information about political persecution continued until the final years of the regime. For example, the press were barred access to the sites where twelve guerrilla suspects were extrajudicially executed in June 1987 in an operation conducted by the DINA’s successor, the National Center of Investigations (Central Nacional de Investigaciones, CNI). Allegedly, CNI technicians dressed the crime scene to make it appear that the victims had firearms and explosives, filmed these details and provided the film to the television networks.76

Within a few years of the coup, some of the authorized media began push back the limits of censorship. Among the first were radio stations, typically less politicized than the written press and less affected by the repression, in particular Radio Chilena, Radio Balmaceda and Radio Cooperativa. In March 1976 Radio Balmaceda was taken off the air for six days, and its general manager, Belisario Velasco — now deputy minister of the interior — was banished to a remote town in the north of Chile. Later in the year, programs dealing with the expulsion of human rights lawyers and labor issues were banned after tapes had been taken away for scrutiny. In January 1977, Carabineros police broke into Radio Balmadeda’s building and closed the station down.

During 1975 and 1976 prior censorship was gradually replaced by a series of decree laws introducing new crimes into the State Security Law and increasing penalties for violations of press laws. But in practice censorship continued intermittently until the state of siege imposed by the junta on the day of the coup was lifted in March 1978. The weekly news magazine Ercilla, one of the few periodicals prepared to criticize the government, was repeatedly threatened with closure. In March 1976 the government impounded an issue, accusing the magazine of unpatriotic propaganda. After the government had tried unsuccessfully to persuade Sergio Mujica, Ercilla’s owner, to change the magazine’s editorial line and to fire its director, Emilio Filippi, Ercilla was sold to the pro-military Cruzat-Larraín economic group. Filippi and the magazine's staff resigned. After a five-month wait for authorization, they formed a new publication, the weekly magazine Hoy.77 During the late 1970s Hoy was closed several times, including once in 1979 for two months.

Although aligned with the Christian Democrats, Hoy bridged the historical divisions between Christian Democrats and left-wing critics of the military government, gaining a large and influential readership. In the years that followed, other mouthpieces of opposition opinion appeared, all of them periodicals. Human rights issues were covered by Solidarity, a news bulletin of the Vicariate of Solidarity of the Catholic Church, the Jesuit periodical Mensaje, and the fortnightly APSI. Análisis, which started as an academic publication, became the regime’s fiercest critic, and the social democratic Cauce broke new ground in human rights investigations. Key players in the articulation of a political alternative to the military, these publications attracted journalists of diverse political affiliations, and especially politicians whose parties had been banned or declared in recess. Further-left publications also circulatedclandestinely, although excluded from the new market of opinions by laws prohibiting the expression of Marxist ideas, later mandated explicitly in Article 8 of the 1980 constitution.78

Attacks on the opposition press

During the early 1980s Chile was hit by a deep recession after the bonanza years of the late 1970s, stirring the first open resistance to the Pinochet regime. As street protests in Santiago’s poor neighborhoods grew more violent, the anti-government press came under increasing attack by the government, as did independent radio stations.79 In March 1984 a military edict subjected Análisis, Cauce, APSI, and Hoy to prior censorship, a measure not used since the early days of the regime. In November of that year, following the reintroduction of a state of siege, Análisis, Cauce, APSI, Bicicleta, and Pluma y Pincel were banned from circulation, while Hoy was subjected to prior censorship. A new law (Decree Law 320) was introduced to prevent these media from “distinguishing or emphasizing subjects, events or conduct which induce, propitiate or facilitate in any way the disturbance of public order,” i.e. reporting on the protests. Two months earlier a military edict had banned them from publishing photographs or carrying information about the “so-called protests” on their cover pages.

Closures, impoundings, censorship, and the detention and harassment of journalists were only the more visible aspects of this systematic attack on freedom of expression. Far more insidious was extensive self-censorship. Constantly affected by closures, arrests and intimidation, the press nevertheless campaigned vociferously for freedom of expression. Also, it played a notable role in exposing human rights violations at a time when the official press continued to dismiss them as unpatriotic propaganda. In 1987, two opposition newspapers, the popular tabloid Fortín Mapocho and La Epoca, also started by Emilio Filippi and appealing to educated readers to the center-left, appeared. Like the alternative periodicals, the agenda and profile of these papers, as well as their readership were defined by the struggle for democracy, and by their adherence to the platform of the Government coalition.

The “contempt for authority” provisions of the Code of Military Justice, which criminalize insults to the armed forces, and the public order and national security provisions of the State Security Law were used systematically to persecute government critics and the independent press. By March 1988, a list of journalists under prosecution published by the Journalists Association included Fernando Paulsen, Juan Pablo Cárdenas, Mónica Gonzalez, and Patricia Collyer (of Análisis), Felipe Pozo, Gilberto Palacios and Ismael Llona (of Fortín Mapocho), Alberto Gamboa, Abrahám Santibañez, Alejandro Guillier, Patricia Verdugo (of Hoy), Gonzalo Figueroa, Manuel Salazar, Edwin Harrington, Ariel Poblete, Francisco Hererros, Juan Jorge Faúndez, Victor Vaccaro, Eugenio González (of Cauce), Marcelo Contreras, Sergio Marras, Marcelo Mendoza (of APSI), and Pablo Cruz (of Prensa Austral).80

The Negotiated Transition

The special dynamics of the return to democracy in Chile had deep effects on the press and the public debate. Chile’s was, in local parlance, a “negotiated transition,” (transición pactada).81 After complex constitutional negotiations, power was transferred to elected authorities within the authoritarian institutional framework bequeathed by the armed forces. Last-minute legislation was introduced by the departing government in various areas (the so-called tying-up laws, leyes de amarre) to preserve “enclaves” of military or conservative influence.82 These measures ensured a powerful military say in key governmental bodies. Departing government officials were protected from accountability for actions committed prior to the installation of Congress inMarch 1990 (this was prohibited in a law passed in January 1990).83 The enormous back-stage power of the army and the decisive influence in parliament of its supporters — due in part to voting arrangement that boosted the right — dictated a government strategy of compromise and pragmatic adjustment. These pressures also tended to inhibit the emergence of a vigorous independent press.

The origins of today’s government can be traced back to the year 1984, when the Democratic Alliance (Alianza Democrática, AD), a front that included the Christian Democrats, the Radical Party, and the reformed (non-Marxist) sector of the Socialist Party, made a historic choice to accept the military’s terms for a political transition as the only viable alternative to further violence and repression.84 It meant first competing with Pinochet in a referendum scheduled in the 1980 constitution for October 1988 to settle whether the general would continue in power or elections would be held the following year. It was hoped that this conciliatory position would allow a negotiated speed-up of the timetable for elections, as well as agreement of other constitutional reforms.

None of the parties that opposed Pinochet and are now in government believed that the constitution had a shred of legitimacy. The text had been drafted behind closed doors without consultation or public discussion except in the pro-military press. The long drafting process began with a Commission of Constitutional Studies formed by the military junta in late 1973 presided by Enrique Ortúzar, a jurist and, as noted, former justice minister in the Alessandri Rodríguez administration. This was followed in 1976 by a Commission for the Study of a New Constitution (Comisión de Estudio de la Nueva Constitución),known as the Ortúzar Commission because it too was chaired by Ortúzar. The jurist who most inspired its deliberations was Jaime Guzmán Errázuriz, founder of the UDI.85 Both men can be located on the conservative right of Chilean politics. General Pinochet himself, with the collaboration of Guzmán and Justice Minister Mónica Madariaga, submitted to the commission in November 1977 a document containing what proved to be the basic elements of the final draft.86 This was put to a referendum on September 11, 1980, without basic guarantees of a free and secret vote.87

The constitution was designed to create what its authors considered a safe or “protected” democracy. It included numerous built-in safeguards to ensure the continuity of military tutelage over elected authorities. These included a formula to have state institutions such as the armed forces directly represented in the Senate. Apart from its twenty-six elected members (increased to thirty-eight in a 1989 amendment), the Senate included nine appointed members, four of whom were picked by the National Security Council (Consejo Nacional de Seguridad, CNS), on which the military has a majority,88 and two by Pinochet himself. This system, together with other constraints on the powers of a future elected government, were intended to make government policies conditional on right-wing approval. After eight uninterrupted years of government, the governing coalition in fact has never commanded the majorities needed to overcome these political obstacles and complete its program of democratization.89

The constitution also ensured a lifetime role for Pinochet and his continuing presence on the political scene. According to the transitional arrangements, Pinochet would retain his post as commander-in-chief of the army until 1998, when he would immediately assume a for-life senatorial seat. The former head of state’s watchful presence in army headquarters across the street from La Moneda, the government palace, had a decisive effect on the recovery of democracy. It shielded the military, if not entirely, from the dishonor of court appearances to answer for human rights charges. Military pressure forced both presidents, Aylwin and Frei, to search for a political formula to close pending human rights investigations, although both were forced to abandon the attempt after opposition from within the government coalition. It also led to the abrupt closure of a major investigation into a corruption scandal implicating Pinochet’s son.90 Presidents Aylwin and Frei both complied scrupulously with the timetable they had agreed to accept. General Pinochet handed over his command on schedule and took his honorary seat in the Senate on March 11, 1998, impassive in the face of emotional but impotent protests from Congress members in the chamber itself.91

The pro-government press was deeply affected by these pressures and the government’s efforts to trim the sails to avoid open conflict. The army largely treated the press as it had before. It delivered periodic broadsides accusing newspapers of orchestrating an anti-military campaign. Many journalists were prosecuted by military courts for exposing or condemning earlier human rights atrocities. Warning signals from the army also acted as an invisible brake on the press, applied by government ministers in urgent telephone calls to media directors or even by the directors or editors themselves. These incidents have declined in number over the years, but their combinedeffect was to curb free expression and instill a climate of caution and restraint which did not favor a vigorous or critical press.

The Press in the Transition to Democracy

Dramatic economic changes in the media industry also had effects on the political debate. The atmosphere of consensus, coupled with a policy of non-intervention by government, strengthened the position of the large-circulation press. The main beneficiaries were El Mercurio and La Tercera, the latter owned by the media conglomerate Copesa (Journalistic Consortium of Chile, Consorcio Periodístico de Chile, S.A.). Both newspapers had been supporters of the military government and had benefited from financial arrangements with state institutions that rescued them from heavy debt in its final years.92 The former conservative political profile of both papers shifted toward the center, as they tried to wrest readers away from their pro-Concertación competitors. Success brought with it further concentration of ownership, already given a fillip in 1973 when the military removed the competitors of the conservative press from the scene. In 1998, of Chile’s forty-eight newspapers, El Mercurio owned sixteen, including Las Ultimas Noticias and Santiago’s evening paper, La Segunda. Copesa, formed by a group of young entrepreneurs of center-right views and a former Pinochet finance minister, bought one third of La Tercera in 1990. By 1998 they owned La Tercera, La Cuarta, and a new Santiago evening paper, La Hora, and had acquired the influential political weekly Qué Pasa.93 Between them, the two chains now monopolize the attention of Chile’s political and business elites without serious competition from any quarter.

Market forces have worked equally decisively against the press that reflected the views of the liberal-progressive segment of Chilean society. By August 1998 only La Nación (now concentrating on sports news) survives as adaily newspaper not owned by El Mercurio or Copesa.94 A watershed was reached in July 1998, when La Epoca, the most independent of the left-of-center dailies, was forced to close down after long financial difficulties.95 A similar fate befell the political weeklies. Within the space of a few years of Aylwin’s inauguration, Cauce, Análisis, and APSI went into crisis and disappeared. All of the weeklies had depended during the military government on annual injections of financial support from foreign donors and foundations. Unable to count on further support after the elections, they were in no position to compete with the aggressive marketing strategies of weekly competitors. Other examples of the demise of this style of journalism were new left-of-center cultural ventures, such as Pluma y Pincel, and Página Abierta, begun in 1990. The organs of the Marxist left, including El Siglo and Punto Final, journal of the Movement of the Revolutionary Left (MIR), also ran into serious financial difficulty.96

Many readers expressed dismay at the loss of outlets for alternative and more critical points of view, and at what they felt to be an inexorable movement toward the middle ground. The government came under criticism from its own supporters for failing to help these periodicals, which had served politicians well as sounding boards in the pre-electoral period, but the government remained insistently aloof. An ill-conceived bill to enforce media pluralism by law, proposed by two Christian Democrat deputies, was defeated by the media owners’ lobby in Congress and also ruled unconstitutional by the Constitutional Court. As happened with daily newspapers, the number of titles in the weeklies market declined, while establishment periodicals like Qué Pasa and Ercilla adopted a more dynamic and inquisitive style. The purchase by Copesa in 1990 of the formerly conservative Qué Pasa (whose editorial board had originally included Jaime Guzmán, architect of the 1980 constitution), eventually led to a new-style magazine that publishes acerbic criticisms of the political and business elite and editorials debunking the myths of the transition. Qué Pasa’s formula was successful: by 1991 it had overtaken its competitors in circulation and advertising revenue, while the Christian Democrat-inclined Hoy trailed behind.97 In October 1998 Hoy, the last survivor of the alternative press that combated Pinochet’s regime, finally closed down.

Of even greater impact than these changes in the print media, however, was the expansion of television as a medium of universal access, the appearance of new privately owned channels authorized for the first time in a law passed in 1989, and the dramatic growth of cable. Television in Chile began in the 1960s as a public service provided by the state and the two largest universities. Under the military government it became increasingly self-financing, and in 1992 the Aylwin government refloated even the state channel, TVN, as a self-financing corporation autonomous of government control. Despite this financial independence, however, TVN was by no means immune from political pressures, which affected the transmission of controversial programs, as we note in Chapter IV. In addition, all stations had to contend with the complex regulations enforced by the government television commission. These restrictions are analyzed in Chapter VI.

49 Joaquín Vial, “La estrategia de desarrollo: crecimiento con equidad,” in Cristián Toloza and Eugenio Lahera (eds), Chile en los Noventa, Dirección de Estudios, Presidencia de la República (Santiago: Dolmen, 1998), pp.183-184.

50 See, for example, Tombs Moulián, Chile: Anatomía de un Mito (Santiago: Lom Ediciones, 1997); Tomás Jocelyn-Holt, El Peso de la Noche: Nuestra Frágil Fortaleza Histórica (Santiago: Ariel, 1997); Faride Zerán, Desacatos al Desencanto (Santiago: Lom Ediciones, 1997). For the opposite view and a lucid analysis of the strategy of the Chilean transition, see Edgardo Boeninger, Democracia en Chile: Lecciones para la Gobernabilidad (Santiago: Editorial Andrés Bello, 1997).

51 Eugenio Lahera and Cristián Toloza, “La Concertación de Partidos por la Democracia: Balance y Perspectivos,” Chile en los Noventa, p. 709.

52 This could be seen in the debate in Congress in August 1998 on the need to regulate the whistle-blowing activities of legislators, some of whom many government officials believed had overstepped acceptable limits. The issue was raised for the first time as a result of a successful investigation by deputy Nelson Avila into alleged customs duty evasion by the air force.

53 Articles 1 and 10 of the Ley de Imprenta, cited in Guillermo Martínez, “Las Bulas y Los Cometas: crónica del régimen decimonónico de libertad de prensa 1813-1925” (Santiago: Friedrich Naumann Stiftung, Serie Contribuciones, No. 8, January, 1995), pp. 3-12. (Translation by Human Rights Watch).

54 In 1955, 4.4 percent of the landowners owned two-thirds of the arable land, while 1.6 percent owned over 50 percent, one of the most unequal land distributions on the continent at the time. D. Baytelman and R. Chateauneuf, “Interpretación del Censo Agrícola Ganadero de 1955,” cited in Osvaldo Sunkel, “Change and Frustration in Chile,” in Claudio Veliz, Obstacles to Change in Latin America (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1965) p. 127.

55 Jorge Mera and Carlos Ruiz, “Notas sobre Libertad de Prensa, Censura y Cultura Política,” in Claudio Durán, Fernando Reyes Matta and Carlos Ruiz (eds), La Prensa: Del

Autoritarismo a la Libertad (Santiago: Centro de Estudios de la Realidad Contemporánea, and Instituto Latinoamericano de Estudios Transnacionales (ILET), 1986), p.193.

56 The publications law (ley de imprenta) of September 16, 1846 was the first to clearly sanction behavior considered abusive of press freedom. It introduced prison sentences for offenses that became staple features of later legislation, such as “incitation of crime” and the “apology for crime.” Others, such as “incitation of hatred between the different classes of the state” and “offenses against morals, public order and the religion of state” sparked strong protests as authoritarian and undemocratic.

57 Felipe Gonzalez Morales, Jorge Mera Figueroa and Juan Enrique Vargas Viancos, Protección Democrática de la Seguridad del Estado (Santiago: Universidad de la Academia de Humanismo Cristiano, Programa de Derechos Humanos, 1991), pp.110-111.

58 Ibid., p. 120.

59 In a somewhat comic effort to define “sensational” objectively, the law referred in detail to such factors as ink color, length, typeface, headline size, etc.

60 Law No. 17,398 of January 9, 1971.

61 See the examples cited by Patricio Dooner, Prensa y Política: Periodismo de Derecha y Izquierda 1970-1973 (Santiago: Ediciones Andante, 1988).

62 “Momios presentaron acusación contra Ministro de Justicia,” El Siglo, January 22, 1971; “Golpistas hablaron en cadena,” La Nacion, April 2, 1971; “ No debe confundirse sedición con oposición,” La Tercera de la Hora, September 13, 1971.

63 Hernán González, “Oscar Waiss, el Feroz Guerrillero del Café Haiti,” Sepa, Semana del 31 de agosto al 6 de septiembre de 1971.

64 “Operación Verdad recorrerá América,” Puro Chile, February 14, 1971, cited in Miguel González Pion and Arturo Fontaine Talavera (eds.), Los Mil Días de Allende (Santiago: Centro de Estudios Públicos, 1997).

65 “Allende informa al pueblo,” Puro Chile, March 31, 1971. (Translation by Human Rights Watch.)

66 Aylwin, then leader of the Christian Democrat Party (PDC) and president of the Senate, was a frequently attacked and lampooned by the pro-Allende press. “Blessed art thou among old dames (señoronas), they say to the sinister Christian Democrat Senator Patricio Aylwin.... Since he insists that his parliamentary stipend (dieta) is not enough to live on he got himself a side-job on Radio Agricultura, together with the ineffable Silvia Pinto, Patricia Guzmán, Raquel Correa, and Carmen Puelma. Day by day they rant on against the government. The program seems more like a chorus of hens because of the uninterrupted clucking of Pat and his ladies.” Las Noticias de Ultima Hora, October 2, 1972. (Translation by Human Rights Watch.) The government later closed Radio Agricultura, which had repeatedly criticized Allende’s agrarian reform program, for refusing to transmit compulsory government broadcasts.

67 “Batalla de la Información,” La Semana Política, El Mercurio, April 18, 1971, reprinted in González and Fontaine, Mil Días de Allende, p. 97.

68 Covert Action in Chile, Washington D.C.: 1975.

69 The cases are discussed below, in Chapter III.

70 Report of the Chilean National Commission on Truth and Reconciliation (Notre Dame, Indiana: Center for Civil and Human Rights, Notre Dame Law School, 1993). Volume 1, p. 53.

71 One of Allende’s most venomous critics, Sepa Director Rafael Otero, was posted by the military junta as press attaché to the Chilean embassy in Washington. See John Dinges and Saul Landau, Assassination on Embassy Row (New York: Pantheon Books, 1980), pp. 266-267

72 Violations of press freedom under the military government are well documented. See especially two valuable chronologies: Lidia Baltra Montaner, Atentados a la Libertad de Información y a los medios de comunicación en Chile 1973-1987 (Santiago: Centro de Comunicación y Cultura para el Desarrollo (CENECA), April 1988), and Consejo Metropolitano del Colegio de Periodistas, La Dictadura contra los Periodistas Chilenos (Santiago: mimeo, July 1988). See also Arturo Navarro, “El sistema de prensa bajo el Régimen Militar (1973-1986)” in Durán, Matta and Ruiz (eds.), La Prensa: Del Autoritarismo a la Libertad.

73 Figures are from Ernesto Carmona (ed), Morir es la Noticia, (Santiago:1997). This study, to which more than sixty journalists contributed, including many writing from abroad, recounts the events in every case. Based on the memories of participants, it is a compelling historical record of the period.

74 Col. Virgilio Espinoza Palma, director of the government’s censorship bureau, the National Directorate of Social Communication (DINACOS), in a speech to the Journalists Association in November 1994. (Translation by Human Rights Watch.) Cited in Colegio de Periodistas, Dictadura contra los Periodistas, p. 9.

75 In a notorious case of disinformation, the so-called Operation Colombo, the DINA faked foreign news reports of an internal purge in the MIR, during which 119 members of the organization across the continent were supposedly assassinated. The bodies of two of the purported victims were reported to have been found in an abandoned car in Argentina. It later transpired that the full list of the “dead” had been first published in an Argentinian and a Brazilian publication invented by the DINA with the connivance of its Argentinian and Brazilian counterparts (the Argentinian publication appeared only once; the Brazilian one, three times). The list of the dead corresponded to prisoners who were known to have “disappeared” after their arrest by security forces in Chile. See Report of the National Commission of Truth and Reconciliation, pp. 503-505. This elaborate cover-up of some of DINA’s most heinous crimes was given complete credence by the national press. In its July 16, 1975 edition, La Tercera reported that the discovery of the bodies “reveals the clumsy maneuvers of leftist elements awaiting the so-called Commission on Human Rights of the United Nations” and that Amnesty International “would have no choice but to cross their names off the list of people disappeared in Chile.” Citing government sources, El Mercurio reported that “these pseudo-detained or kidnaped are transported to Argentina so that they can join guerrilla movements and after receiving training, they are returned to Chile.” La Segunda headlined cruelly, “Miristas kill one another like rats.” Cited in Eugenio Ahumada, et al., Chile:La Memoria Prohibida (Santiago: Pehuén, 1989), Vol. 2, pp. 108-109. (Translation by Huma n Rights Watch.)

76 José Hale, “No aparecen videos de Operación Albania,” La Tercera, August 8, 1998. The videos subsequently disappeared and were reportedly not provided by the military prosecutor to a civilian judge investigating the crime in 1998.

77 Human Rights Watch interview with Emilio Filippi, March 19, 1998.

78 This article remained in force until August 1989, when the constitution was amended following negotiations between government coalition leaders and the military government.

79 Agents belonging to the CNI harassed and threatened opposition journalists; in a notorious incident in December 1982, CNI thugs beat up six journalists covering a labor rally in Santiago’s Artisan Square.

80 It is striking that at least nine of the journalists on this list have been prosecuted for contempt of authority or libel since the return to democracy in 1990.

81 The Spanish word pactar is not precisely translatable into English. According to the Spanish Royal Academy it means “to fix or impose conditions or to consent to terms in order to conclude a business agreement or other dealing, which both sides are obliged to honor.” Madrid: Diccionario Manual e Ilustrado de la Lengua Española, 1989, p. 1136.

82 Americas Watch (now Human Rights Watch), Human Rights and the “Politics of Agreements”: Chile During President Aylwin’s First Year (New York: Human Rights Watch, July, 1991).

83 In March 1998, a group of government coalition congressmen finally presented an impeachment motion against General Pinochet, but it was based on his alleged unconstitutional actions since March 1990, not on events that occurred under the military government. The motion, which was opposed by Frei, did not prosper.

84 The main conservative party, the National Party, declared itself in recess after Pinochet’s coup and was not revived. Divisions on the right between pro-military and more critical groups produced two new formations, which emerged within months of one another in 1983. The Independent Democratic Union (Unión Democrática Independiente, UDI, founded by Jaimé Guzmán, a right-wing theoretician closely identified with the 1980 constitution and one of its main authors) rejected any modification of the transition timetable. The National Union (Unión Nacional, UN, founded by Andrés Allamand) supported dialogue with the opposition. The UDI continues in existence today as the second opposition party; the other, National Renovation (Renovación Nacional, RN), is a direct descendent of the UN, and includes center-leaning liberals.

85 Guzmán was assassinated by members of a left-wing commando on April 1, 1991.

86 Ascanio Cavallo Castro, Manuel Salazar Salvo and Oscar Sepúlveda Pacheco, La Historia Oculta del Régimen Militar (Santiago: Editorial Antártica, 1989), p. 310.

87 Even before the outcome was known, Christian Democrat leaders had issued a public statement declaring that the referendum was “without any validity” and that both the text and any future act carried in its name were “equally illegitimate and valueless.”

88 The CSN is composed of the president, the presidents of the Senate and the Supreme Court, the commanders-in-chief of each branch of the armed forces and the director general of Carabineros, the uniformed police.

89 Edgardo Boeninger, Aylwin’s general secretary of the presidency and a leading theoretician of the transition, has suggested that of the four major political goals of the government coalition, the most important was governability. The others were the return of the military to the barracks, an ethically acceptable solution to the human rights problem,and reform of the constitution. Edgardo Boeninger, Democracia en Chile: Lecciones para la Gobernabilidad (Santiago: Andrés Bello, 1997), pp. 379-385. The failure of the last objective, despite the government’s success in other areas such as judicial and local government reform, was ironically evident when Boeninger accepted Frei’s nomination in March 1998 to an appointed seat in the Senate.

90 The army show of force is described below, in Chapter IV.

91 According to Aylwin, after he had explained why the country would benefit from his resignation, Pinochet replied, “You are mistaken, sir. No one will protect it better than I. Don't you see that my people are very nervous?” Aylwin never mentioned the subject again. “Testimonio del ex-presidente Patricio Aylwin a Comisión de Cámara de Diputados,” La Tercera, April 8, 1998. (Translation by Human Rights Watch.)

92 By the end of the military government El Mercurio owed 14,000 million pesos, 60 percent of it to the State Bank (Banco del Estado); La Tercera owed 374 million pesos to TVN.

93 Eugenio Tironi and Guillermo Sunkel, “Modernización de las comunicaciones y democratización de la política: los medios en la transición a la Democracia en Chile,” in Studios Publicist, No. 52, 1993.

94 La Nación, out of favor with the public because of its dependence on the military government, was revitalized under new directors appointed by Aylwin at the start of his government. It reported extensively on human rights investigations in the courts. However, the paper’s success was limited by the government’s inability to find a formula to secure its financial independence, the only guarantee of the paper’s real autonomy of government. It also suffered from declining sales as the appeal of denunciatory journalism waned. A new managerial team appointed by the Frei government repositioned the paper in the market by giving it a prominent sports focus.

95 La Epoca was founded in March 1987 by Emilio Filippi, editor of Hoy, and a group of partners including fellow Christian Democrat Sen. Juan Hamilton. It attracted a distinguished group of journalists and commentators and provided a new forum of debate as the country headed toward the watershed of the 1988 plebiscite. But difficulties in raising seed capital led to La Epoca’s heavy reliance on credit, which the newspaper proved unable to service from its sales. By 1992 sales had dropped to less than half their level in 1990. Advertising revenue, according to the paper’s directors, was affected by the paper’s critical image and failed to make up the deficit: even at its peak it never surpassed 12 percent of El Mercurio’s. After a relaunch in 1991 failed to solve the problems, La Epoca entered an association with Copesa, which took over the printing, distribution, and sales of the paper, while La Epoca’s directors retained

editorial control. This arrangement was terminated in March 1998. Cortés, Modernización Concentración ...,” p. 568.

96 Guillermo Sunkel, “La Prensa en la Transición Chilena,” (Santiago: Facultad Latinoamericana de Ciencias Sociales (FLACSO), Serie Educación y Cultura, No. 26, 1992).

97 Cortés, “Modernización y concentración...,” p.582.

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