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The Chilean telecommunications regulator Subtel has banned mobile operators from offering so-called zero-rated social media apps – services like Twitter and Facebook that, through deals with the carriers, can be used without having to pay for mobile data. Subtel says such practices are illegal under Chilean net neutrality law. These offers are particularly popular in developing markets because they give the carriers a way to get people familiar with the mobile internet, which is something they may have previously avoided due to high perceived cost. The user will get to see and use Twitter, for example, for free, and will then be encouraged to move across to paid data so they can click through the links.

Those tasked with drafting or promoting legislation guaranteeing the right to information face a number of challenges. How should the regime of exceptions be crafted so as to strike an appropriate balance between the right to know and the need for secrecy to protect certain key public and private interests? How extensive should the obligation to publish and disseminate information be and how can the law ensure that this obligation grows in line with technological developments? What procedures for requesting information can balance the need for timely, inexpensive access against the pressures and resource constraints facing civil servants? What right of appeal should individuals have when their requests for information have been refused? Which positive measures need to be taken to change the culture of secrecy that pervades the public administration in so many countries and to inform the public about this right? Conducted by Toby Mendel, this study helps to clarify some of these challenges from a regional, comparative perspective. It illustrates the way, in which eleven Latin American countries have dealt with enacting right to information legislation.

Protests in Brazil have highlighted, most recently, the growing use of social media for citizens to organize politically, outside the traditional parties and union structures of the past. New communication technologies have also played a key role in political organization and protests throughout the hemisphere, including the #YoSoy132 protests in Mexico, education protests in Chile, and cacerolazos in Argentina. Are these communications technologies helping promote better governance or disrupting government stability? What are governments doing to respond and organize online? How are these technologies impacting debates over media and censorship of political issues in the hemisphere? To answer these questions, the Americas Program is pleased to welcome James Bosworth, author of Bloggings by Boz

2013 event covering New Media Technologies and Social Movements in Latin America at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. Audio of the event here.

The announcement that the La Nación newspaper of Chile is closing down has drawn the attention of journalists, analysts and opposition lawmakers to the heavy concentration of press ownership, now in the hands of only two business groups, and to the lack of regulations to ensure media pluralism.
“The state must create public media in areas (press, radio or television) where there is a high concentration of ownership,” said Marcelo Castillo, head of the Chilean Association of Journalists.
Furthermore, “public communication policies are needed that go beyond the mere existence of media,” he said.
At present, the only state electronic media outlet is National Television of Chile, an autonomous company with a seven-member board nominated by the president and ratified by the Senate.

The announcement that the La Nación newspaper of Chile is closing down has drawn the attention of journalists, analysts and opposition lawmakers to the heavy concentration of press ownership, now in the hands of only two business groups, and to the lack of regulations to ensure media pluralism.
“The state must create public media in areas (press, radio or television) where there is a high concentration of ownership,” said Marcelo Castillo, head of the Chilean Association of Journalists.
Furthermore, “public communication policies are needed that go beyond the mere existence of media,” he said.
At present, the only state electronic media outlet is National Television of Chile, an autonomous company with a seven-member board nominated by the president and ratified by the Senate.