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Population: 19 million
Internet penetration: 97%

Chile has been remembering the 50th anniversary of the coup détat that ushered in 17 years of dictatorship, at a time of increased political polarisation and strained relationships between press and government. Yet amid the challenges, new players and innovative approaches have emerged.

Chile has spent several years wrangling over a new constitution to replace one from the dictatorship era. The most recent moves involved selecting advisers to draft a new document and holding a referendum to approve it, after an earlier attempt was rejected. The proposed new constitution was also rejected. While the first draft had primarily represented a left-wing agenda, the second concentrated on ideas from the right, underscoring the country's polarisation and contributing to a growing disillusion with news and politics overall and to greater levels of news avoidance.

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The media did not cover this process with the same enthusiasm as they had first time around. Instead, crime dominates the news agenda – a study by the National Television Council of Chile showed that crime news occupied the most screen time in each broadcast, with TVN, the country's sole public channel, an exception.1

The second year of left-wing President Gabriel Boric's administration was marked by a strained relationship with the press, partly due to this change in news coverage. Speaking in front of a national business conference, he said: ‘Honestly, I read the newspapers very little these days. But it's impressive how there's a preference for the bad news. I don't know how those who keep reading El Mercurio, La Tercera, La Segunda [right-wing and centrist newspapers] end up feeling afterward because, honestly, it's as if we live in a hellish country. And we're not about that.’ The remarks were criticised by national and international journalism organisations, but the government argued that the comments were just an invitation for the media to reconsider their priorities rather than direct criticism.

Within this growing tension there was also public debate about the government's initiative to convene an Advisory Commission against Disinformation.2  This body, comprising experts from several disciplines, received a mixed welcome from journalists, academics, and politicians, many of whom were sceptical about the intentions behind the plan. The government insisted the commission was an expert body, and its work concluded with two reports compiling academic research and information from foreign experiences.

In 2023, Chile marked 50 years since the Chilean Armed Forces bombed La Moneda, the Government Palace, which led to 17 years of right-wing military dictatorship under Augusto Pinochet. Guidelines for covering the anniversary came from the National Institute of Human Rights and the National Television Council, in itself perhaps a demonstration of current polarisation. The guidelines emphasised the relevance of acknowledging the violation of human rights during the dictatorship and the duty of news media to avoid disinformation, hate, and denialist speech.

News outlets prepared special coverage using archives and documentary research to tell previously untold stories from the time. They formed partnerships with NGOs, museums, and universities to compile these narratives and develop innovative digital products such as dramatic audio recreations and combined digital/physical experiences. Television news consumption increased slightly, perhaps due to the deployment of news journalists to support their sports news colleagues in covering the Pan American Games, hosted this year by Chile.

Chilean media is largely centralised in Santiago, but it was a local outlet, Timeline, based in the port city of Antofagasta, 1000 km north of the capital, that gained national attention by uncovering a corruption scandal involving politicians from the ruling party.

Chile’s newspapers are dominated by two conglomerates centred around the big players La Tercera and El Mercurio. However, a new player, Spain's Prisa Group, has entered the market, with an online Chilean edition of El País that uses a subscription model, and its first Chilean journalism-based podcast, a controversial true crime documentary. A new right-leaning FM radio station, La Metro, launched and CNN’s Chilean output was acquired by lawyer and entrepreneur Jorge Carey, who secured the rights to the brand for 10 years after serving as an executive at the channel.

Independent site is among those experimenting with AI, saying it publishes more than 40 articles every day using an AI-powered CMS, and consistently sees its stories trending on social media. Another example is WazNews, a virtual assistant delivering text and audio on demand via WhatsApp. After a series of AI options, users are given the option to hear news stories narrated by journalists.

Francisco J. Fernández and Enrique Núñez-Mussa
Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile/Michigan State University

Chile in previous reports: 2023 | 2022 | 2021


Changing media

News consumption has declined across all sources since 2017 with television news and printed newspapers seeing the biggest falls. News use via social media platforms such as Facebook and X is also significantly down this year.

Pay for online news



Trust in news overall



Trust in the news (32%) is nearing its lowest point since 2017, and is amongst the lowest in our global survey. This trend aligns with a backdrop of political polarisation and recurring elections, some featuring binary options that tend to divide the country between right-wing and left-wing alternatives.

RSF World Press Freedom Index


Score 67.32

Measure of press freedom from NGO Reporters Without Borders based on expert assessment. More at

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