The Move Toward State-Run Mass Media Electoral Campaigns in Latin America: An Evaluation of the First Implementation in the 2011 Argentine Presidential Elections
Election Law Journal
Over the last few years, in an attempt to mitigate parties' unequal access to mass media during election campaigns, several Latin American countries decided to increase the public funding of election campaigns vis-a-vis private sources. Among them, four countries (Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, and Ecuador) moved to an exclusively state-funded regime of mass media election campaigns. Argentine legislation was first implemented for the 2011 presidential elections. According to new campaign finance
... campaign finance legislation, among other changes, the buying and selling of electoral advertisements on radio and TV are prohibited. Parties and candidates may only use advertising allocated by the state to disseminate their campaign messages. Based on a large media monitoring scheme conducted during open primaries and general elections, this article presents an evaluation of the first implementation of this new law in Argentina. In all, approximately 7,000 election ads on radio and TV were recorded and analyzed. The data show that the broadcasting of electoral advertisements in the monitored media complied with the stipulated distribution by the new law and resulted in more equal access of candidates to mass media. Also, government advertising was relatively limited during the two weeks prior to the election. However the weak regulation of the use of state resources for election campaigns can provide an extra advantage for incumbents and a source of inequity in political competition. This danger increases in a state-run regime of mass media campaigns and in the context of a dramatic increase of government advertising.