In this small country, information pluralism and high-quality journalism are jeopardised by the small size of the market and virtually unceasing pressure from the politically and economically powerful. Private media are controlled by bankers and business people with strong, vested interests.+
Andorra’s tiny size and concentration of economic power limit the number of outlets and their independence. State-owned RTVA, which operates largely under government influence, co-exists with daily newspapers, led by Diari d’Andorra. Of the remaining publications, some are controlled by bankers with strong vested interests. The principality’s only “news agency” functions as more of a communications agency.
The principality’s relatively young democratic tradition and the influence of economic elites in all institutions favour a degree of opacity in government-media relations. As a result, journalists have a hard time fulfilling their role in forcing government accountability.
Official censorship does not exist. But journalists are pushed into self-censorship by the close relations between state-owned media and government, and by the influence of economic and financial elites in privately owned media. Journalists are limited to chronicling daily life rather than revealing financial scandals.
Banking sector influence is omnipresent. It determines advertising purchases and, in the absence of mechanisms to protect editorial independence, the editorial lines of press outlets.
Media independence is threatened by a degree of hostility to the pluralism of ideas in a society strongly influenced by the Catholic Church. In addition, an archaic legal system makes journalists’ access to reliable sources a practical impossibility. These would include interviews with judges.