Urban Peru Opinions on Governance, Public Institutions and the Media

Opinions on Governance, Public Institutions and the Media

 The restrictions to freedom and the less-than-ideal regulatory frameworks influence the way the urban Peruvians perceive their media, government and other institutions. Read more to see how urban Peruvians view their country and its institutions…..

Nearly 70 percent of respondents in the 2009 InterMedia survey in urban Peru said they distrust their government, with more than a quarter of all respondents saying they “completely distrust” the government. Similar results were observed when respondents were asked to guage their satisfaction with the government (Chart 1A and B).

Chart 1 
                                   A                                                                                               B
                                          Intermedia, Urban Peru  2009, survey of urban adults, (16+), n = 750

                              C                                                                                       D
                                 Intermedia, Urban Peru  2009, survey of urban adults, (16+), n = 750

Parliament received a very poor grade,
with 75 percent  of respondents expressing complete or some distrust, (chart 1C). By contrast, local and municipal governments fared somewhat better on the trustworthiness scale (chart 1D).

Interestingly, urban Nicaraguans were more likely to trust their public health and educational institutions (charts 2A and 2B).  What's more, despite the ongoing impact of the global economic crisis, close to 60 percent respondents said they  trusted banks and financial institutions (Chart 2C).

Chart 2
                       A                                                                                        B

                                            Intermedia, Urban Peru  2009, survey of urban adults, (16+), n = 750

                           C                                                                                       D

                                              Intermedia, Urban Peru  2009, survey of urban adults, (16+), n = 750

Seventy four of the respondents were said they did not believe that courts and judges are impartial and more than 75 percent of the respondents either completely or somewhat distrusted them.

The respondents also had fairly high levels of trust in institutions protecting state and public security-  60 percent placed thir trust in the police and in the army.  

The highest trust was placed in religious institutions- 70  percent of urban Nicaraguans said that they either completely or somewhat trusted them.

Opinions on Democracy 

Chart 3
                           A                                                                                          B

                                 Intermedia, Urban Peru  2009, survey of urban adults, (16+), n = 750

Wavering trust in government does not seem to have lessened urban Peruvians faith in democracy. As can be seen in Charts 3A and 3B, close to two thirds of urbanites surveyed agreed that Peru is a democratic country, and that democracy is preferable to other types of government.

Public Opinion on the Media
As described in the regulatory section, the Peruvian media has higher levels of freedom than before but still operates under certain constraints. Some of the levels of distrust expressed might stem from the respondents perception of this less than ideal media environment.

Even though the constitution provides for freedom of speech and of the press [1] , it is evident that Peru is still shaking off the remnants of the era of former President Alberto Fujimori, which was characterized by strong governmental control over the media, widespread bribery and heavy reporting bias. Television channels were pressured and bribed to follow government-speak and promote Fujimori in their reports. They gave in, due to fear of reprisal and their weak financial situations which was exacerbated by the recession of the late 90s. Things have changed since then, and today many television channels are playing the role of the government watchdogs and exposing many corruption scandals within bureaucratic circles. [2] However, today the media face new threats to freedom from other parties, including drug traffickers, provincial authorities and civil organizations such as protesting coca growers.  In general, the media still occasionally bend to various economic and political interests. 

The survey respondents were aware of these influences on their media - between to 64-68 percent said they believed that the media was influenced by the government and economic groups, leading to self censorship.

Chart 4
                             A                                                                                       B
                                             Intermedia, Urban Peru  2009, survey of urban adults, (16+), n = 750

In addition, when asked if there was self censorship in the media, more than 50 percent either strongly or somewhat agreed with the statement. 

                                        Chart 5
                                      Intermedia, Urban Peru  2009, survey of urban adults, (16+), n = 750

Despite this controlled media environment, a surprisingly high number of respondents placed their trust in the media and also considered it to be relatively free (Charts 6A and 6B). Given the responses to the previous questions about the media, this may indicate a general lack of awareness about the nature of truly free, uncensored and democratic media.

Chart 6
                                   A                                                                        B
                           Intermedia, Urban Peru  2009, survey of urban adults, (16+), n = 750
 Interest in News Topics
A significant proportion of respondents (94 percent) said they were very or somewhat interested in staying informed about national news, but their interest in news about neighboring countries was much lower (Charts 7A and 7B).  Respondents were very interested in economic news, while they much less interested in news about politics (Charts 7C and 7D).

Chart 7
                               A                                                                                       B
                             Intermedia, Urban Peru  2009, survey of urban adults, (16+), n = 750

                                        C                                                                             D
                                                 Intermedia, Urban Peru  2009, survey of urban adults, (16+), n = 750

[1] “Peru” US Department of State, Under Secretary for Democracy and Global Affairs , Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor > County Reports on Human Rights Practices Accessed from http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2004/41771.htm
[2] “Description of Peruvian media stun even the most jaded observers” Freedom Forum Accessed from http://www.freedomforum.org/templates/document.asp?documentID=13381