NEWS DESERTS EUROPE 2022: PORTUGAL REPORT
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More than half of the Portuguese municipalities are news deserts or are on the verge of becoming so. Out of the 308 existing municipalities, 166 (53.9%) are news deserts or semi-deserts or at risk of becoming one. These are municipalities in a red flag situation regarding news coverage.
Over a quarter of Portugal’s municipalities are in some type of news desert, which means they don’t have frequent or satisfactory news coverage. Out of the 308 municipalities, 78 (25.3%) are in some type of news desert, that is, they do not have media outlets based in the municipality that create local news or the ones they have, have insufficient news coverage. Out of these 78 municipalities, 54 (17.5%) are in a total news desert, which means that they don’t have any media outlets producing news about these territories, and 24 (7.8%) are in semi-desert status, that is, they only have less frequent or not satisfactory news coverage. It should also be noted that 88 (28.6%) are at risk of entering into the status of news desert, as they have only one media outlet with regular news coverage.
“For three months and referring to the data available in the ERC database on May 31, 2022, we tried to determine which municipalities have media, which do not or which are in an alert situation. A process that involved dozens of searches and contacts, in addition to the collaboration of multiple entities, journalists and other citizens, whom we thank in advance. In summary, we have tried to present the most accurate information about each municipality in this report. We hope that it will help to better understand the media scenario in Portugal and perhaps it can serve as support for the definition of public policies for the sector. Because the spaces left empty by journalism are quickly occupied by other realities, less or even not at all committed to the search for truth, ethics, and deontology. Perhaps that is why the European Commission is so concerned about the possible growth of these gaps and with them misinformation. From this perspective, this report is also an initial contribution to the study of 'news deserts' in Europe", reads in the introduction of the study.
The bilingual report is the result of a MediaTrust.Lab study. Thus, Portugal is the first European country to study “news deserts”, following what has been done in the US since 2016 and in Brazil since 2017.
This study had the collaboration of the Aveiro Media Competence Center.
See Portuguese version: https://labcomca.ubi.pt/desertos-de-noticias-europa-2022-relatorio-de-portugal/
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