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The media

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Media output in Chile is nothing to get excited about. If you know where to look, journalistic standards can be high but you might find yourself turning to foreign TV channels or papers if you want an international view on events.

Newspapers and magazines

The Chilean press has managed to uphold a strong tradition of editorial freedom ever since the country’s first newspaper, La Aurora, was published by an anti-royalist friar in 1812, during the early days of the independence movement. One year before La Aurora folded in 1827, a new newspaper, El Mercurio, went to press in Valparaíso, and is now the longest-running newspaper in the Spanish-speaking world. Emphatically conservative, and owned by the powerful Edwards family, El Mercurio is considered the most serious of Chile’s dailies, but still has a minimal international coverage. The other major daily is La Tercera, which tends to be more sensationalistic. The liberal-leaning La Nación is the official newspaper of the state. The online English-language Santiago Times (santiagotimes.cl) is a good read, though you’ll need to subscribe to get full access.

Chile also produces a plethora of racy tabloids as well as ¡Hola!-style clones. For a more edifying read, try the selection of Private Eye-style satirical papers, such as The Clinic and the weekly magazine Siete más 7.

In Santiago you can usually track down a selection of foreign papers, though elsewhere you’ll generally have to rely on online editions.

Television and radio

Cable TV is widespread, offering innumerable domestic and international channels. CNN is always on offer, and BBC World is widely available. Of the five terrestrial channels, top choice is Channel 7, the state-owned Televisión Nacional, which makes the best programmes in Chile. Generally, however, soap operas, game shows and, of course, football, predominate.

Voice of America (voa.gov) and Radio Canada (rcinet.ca) can both be accessed but unfortunately the BBC no longer broadcasts its World Service in Chile.

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