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Population: 10 million
Internet penetration: 88%

The Portuguese market is dominated by four major commercial media groups (Impresa, Cofina, Media Capital, Global Media) and RTP the public broadcaster, a challenging setting for the establishment of new players. Amidst discontent among journalists and issues of financial sustainability for brands, the media landscape also faces potential increased political instability.

Despite historically high trust in news figures and press freedom remaining a staple of Portuguese democracy, the rise of politically motivated disinformation and increasing polarisation may pose new hurdles to an ailing news sector. The general election held in March 2024, following the fall of the left-centrist government led by Prime Minister António Costa, was preceded by months of instability in which a caretaker government cautiously held power over a country on the brink of the most polarised election in decades. Disinformation attempts intensified and, for the first time on record, foreign electoral intervention in Portugal was detected, by actors aiming to harm the two major political parties of the centre left and centre right. A team of MediaLab Iscte researchers discovered a set of sponsored YouTube ads paid for by a foreign company,1 which investigative journalists partnering with Bellingcat would later confirm to be related to an advertising agency in Argentina.2

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The main Portuguese media groups continue their search for innovative approaches, trying to find solutions that take advantage of their size, synergies between their businesses and different platforms, but at a significant risk and cost. Cofina SGPS, which held Cofina Media, the owner of daily newspaper Correio da Manhã and Correio da Manhã TV (CMTV), ended the year with the announcement of the group’s acquisition by a management buyout by a group of current and former employees, along with other investors.

The problems facing Global Media Group, owner of historical daily Diário de Notícias, Jornal de Notícias, and legacy radio broadcaster TSF, were evident from successive changes in management, wages paid late, and the collective dismissal of workers announced early in 2024.

Those working in the industry are actively expressing discontent about the deteriorating working conditions and general devaluing of journalism. The 5th National Congress for Journalists in January 2024 was attended by more than 700 people and called for a journalists’ general strike, the first in 40 years. The subsequent strike, held on 15 March, affected nearly 50 news organisations, including leading brands such as SIC Noticias, CNN, TVI, and RTP.  

The Associação Portuguesa de Radiodifusão (APR), representing radio stations nationwide, also held a protest led by more than 70 local radio stations, aimed at boycotting the elections by a news-reporting shutdown. This protest highlighted the particularly harsh conditions for local and regional media, worsened by inadequate state support and the imposition of rules such as an increased quota for Portuguese music to be broadcast, which the sector believes could further constrain their activity at a time when their survival is at stake.

The former government intended to update the Press Law, which some regard as outdated. For example, the current law dates from 1999 and completely ignores the impact of the digital transition and the need to protect the integrity of journalism in the digital environment. Pressure is building for an updated version that preserves editorial independence and the status of journalists as professionals. These aspects may well come into effect now that EU law requires countries to protect media independence and prevent economic and/or political interference.

In terms of economic sustainability there are several innovation frameworks currently being developed by both legacy brands and digital-born outlets. Larger brands such as Expresso and Público are focusing on branded audio using podcasts as their main tool to reach and engage users. Grupo Impresa-owned SIC TV brands now also exist as a streaming platform (OPTO) while the public broadcaster RTP continues to expand its digital presence with the free-to-use RTP Play on-demand service. Despite their smaller scale, digital-born Observador and Lisbon's local A Mensagem continue to achieve impressive levels of audience engagement.

With the looming threat of AI taking over central production processes within several industries, the discussion regarding the impact of AI on the Portuguese media ecosystem is only just beginning. Most brands, whether large or small, have still not incorporated AI technology either into their own production structures or as a way of promoting better interaction with audiences.

Ana Pinto-Martinho, Miguel Paisana, and Gustavo Cardoso
ISCTE-IUL, University Institute of Lisbon

Portugal in previous reports: 2023 | 2022 | 2021


Changing media

Despite a further slight fall this year, television remains the main source of news for many Portuguese, along with online sources. Social media use for news is significantly down this year (-6pp), across all networks but particularly driven by lower use of Facebook.

Pay for online news


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Trust in news overall



Trust in news continues its downward path since 2022 and this year, for the first time, Portugal fell from third to sixth place out of 47 global markets. The country's persistently unstable political situation may have contributed to this drop in trust levels.

RSF World Press Freedom Index


Score 85.9

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


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