MONTEVIDEO – A bill introduced in Congress with support from Uruguay’s major political parties aims to regulate the placement of government advertising, a vital source of revenue for newspapers, radio and television stations in Latin America.
The initiative was launched by Cainfo, a group promoting freedom of information and citizens’ participation in public affairs.
Besides requiring 30 percent of official advertising to be placed with media outlets outside Montevideo, the bill would establish a system of open public bidding to award contracts.
“This is an issue of transparency, of citizens’ right to information and, above all, it has to do with building a more democratic society that implies knowing how official advertising is allocated,” lower house speaker Alejandro Sanchez said.
One of the bill’s provisions bans references in paid official notices to political parties, officeholders or political appointees as well as the use of the advertising-allocation process to punish or reward media outlets according to their editorial orientations.
The bill would apply to official notices such as postings for civil service jobs and requests for bids on projects or procurement, public interest campaigns and the promotion of products or services of state-owned enterprises.
The legislation would also impose on media outlets a requirement to publish detailed periodic reports on their revenues from official advertising.