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Portugal: media advertising and jobs in decline

In the wake of the general economic and financial crisis Portugal's media system has experienced declining advertising revenues and staff reductions. Major media holdings with mainly Portuguese capital and a multi-media orientation own most of the newspapers and other media. The dependence of media companies on non-media and foreign investors has increased dramatically. The Angolan holding company Newshold, for instance, acquired several renowned newspapers in the crisis-shaken newspaper sector, namely the weekly Sol and the daily i and also acquired shares in the Impresa media group (SIC, Expresso and Visão).

The anniversary of the Carnation Revolution.
(© picture-alliance/dpa)

The media in Portugal for a long time suffered censorship, which only ended with the Carnation Revolution of 1974. Some newspapers became state-owned for a while and were returned to private hands only in the late 1980s, which also saw a liberalisation of radio and television, until then domains of the state and the Catholic Church; the latter to this day continues to operate the influential station Rádio Renascença. On the television scene the two channels of the state broadcasting company RTP were joined by two private competitors SIC and TVI in 1992/93. Despite digital television, these four are still the only channels that can be received free of charge.

Portugal does not have a large number of newspapers. Expresso, a liberal weekly published on Saturdays and founded in 1973 when Portugal was still ruled by a dictatorship, is considered the country's leading media organ. It maintains good contacts with the country's two most important political parties and during the dictatorship served as a mouthpiece for a moderate opposition. Its main rival among the dailies is Público, founded in 1990 by former Expresso journalists.

Alongside Público the five national dailies comprise Diário de Notícias, with a long tradition, the high circulation Jornal de Notícias from Porto, the newspaper i, founded in 2009, and the tabloid Correio da Manhã, which has the biggest print run. The most important news magazines are market leader Visão and its rival Sábado; the main business newspapers are Diário Económico and Jornal de Negócios.

It is difficult to say what the political orientation of the various national newspapers is. The three sport dailies (A Bola, O Jogo and Record), which are devoted mainly to football, have a very high circulation. The Internet service of A Bola is one of the most visited online portals, with 40 million visits per month. Blogs have a role to play only in the online services of news pages. According to figures from the market research institute Marktest, 1.9 million Portuguese regularly read blogs in 2013.

Press Freedom Index:

Reporters without Borders: 26th place (2015)
Freedom House: 22nd place (2014)

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