alone public sector agencies, particularly the Ministry of the Presidency, have spent at least $76 million
in advertising, double the amount spent by the second largest advertiser, a local beer company.
The media that do engage in critical and investigative journalism are able to do so because they are
financially secure, do not depend on government advertising, and/or not in arrears. Free political debate
and critical opinions are aired on a few cable TV stations   Canal N and Cable Canal de Noticias   and
are published in national daily newspapers such as  El Comercio,  Gestion and  La Rep blica, and in
weekly and monthly magazines such as  Caretas and  Debate. However, these media also have fairly
reduced circulation.
Absence of Political Information and Debate
Over the last year, one of the most notable trends in non cable television programming has been the
gradual elimination of programs with explicit political content   investigative news reporting, interviews,
or talk shows. Media owners justify these programming decisions because non political shows received
higher ratings; journalists see their displacement as a political move by owners who fear government
reprisals when the news shows take a critical perspective. Celebrated cases include the cancellation of the
news and talk program  
En Global Con Hildebrandt,
  run by well known government critic Cesar
Hildebrandt, and the pressure exerted on the host of the popular Sunday news and features program
Revista Dominica,
  Nicolas Lucar, to present reports in ways that reflect favorably on the government
(Lucar eventually resigned and publicly criticized this trend.) The result of these cancellations is that
there are few outlets for political reporting or debate on non cable television.
Although radio is less restricted than television, and 52% of Peruvians report using the radio as their
main source of political information, it is also subject to self censorship. For example, the 
Instituto de
Defensa Legal (IDL)
, a prominent human rights organization that receives funding from various external
donors and publishes a monthly magazine, recently had its radio program removed from the air.  The
station owner admitted that in the current environment, he could not air the show.
Although only 34% of Peruvians cite newspapers as their main source for news, the role of the country's
widely read tabloids, known collectively as the  Prensa Chicha,  is important in the current political
process. Seen hanging on kiosks throughout the country, near bus stops and markets, the tabloid
headlines and stories are almost uniformly pro government and identical in their messages. Allegedly
subsidized and influenced by the military and intelligence service, the tabloids publish scandalous stories
that aim to discredit opposition politicians and journalists through references to their sexuality, business
affairs, patriotism, and other topics.
In the pre 2000 election context, media watchdog groups and elections monitors note that the media
often served to constrain meaningful political participation. Even before the 2000 election campaign,
international observers raised concerns. The Committee to Protect Journalists listed President Fujimori
among top ten enemies of the press worldwide. In 1988, Freedom House ranked Peru along with Cuba as
the only two countries in the hemisphere as having a press that is  not free. 
Intimidation and Self Censorship
Several incidents have collectively discouraged freedom of expression and have encouraged self 
censorship. Over time, these incidents form patterns, such as the following:
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