Report - Mid-Year Meeting April 17 - 19, 2024

The most significant events in this period were social media attacks, journalist intimidation, and a lawsuit by a publishing group against Google for holding a dominant position in advertising.

Aggressions against journalists through social media continue. Often using bots and with clear political motivation, journalists and their work are denigrated, accusing them of serving spurious interests. While the issue gained importance due to the attack on a journalist from La Tercera for her coverage of a pro-government mayor, attacks against other journalists on social media are commonplace.

In mid-March, the publishing group Copesa, which publishes the newspapers La Tercera and La Cuarta, filed a lawsuit against Google at the Tribunal for the Defense of Free Competition. The action follows arguments and situations occurring in other countries. It is based on the alleged abuse of the dominant position by the platform, which implies unfair conditions in the management of online advertising spaces and, in many cases, the diversion of advertising to the technology giant. According to the lawsuit, this would be undermining the sustainability of digital media and impacting journalistic quality and the existence of media outlets. In the coming months, the reaction of the National Economic Prosecutor's Office, the prosecuting body for free competition offenses, and whether other media will join the lawsuit is expected.

In January, the Chamber of Deputies approved a bill that establishes protection measures for journalists facing insecurity during the coverage of protests and in conflict situations, such as when covering drug trafficking issues. The project is based on UNESCO's "model law on the protection of journalists and individuals working in communications."

The bill is now in the Senate for discussion and potential approval. The Federation of Media raised a series of concerns, given that some political sectors sought to include aspects unrelated to the safety of journalists. Later, the government took measures that allowed the project to remain consistent with the model law.

In June 2023, the Ministerial Advisory Commission Against Disinformation was created. It published two reports in August and November proposing some measures, including strengthening media and social network education, creating fact-checking mechanisms with public funds, and penalizing disinformation in electoral campaigns.