An extensive telegraph service, about three-fourths of which is state-owned, links all the principal cities and towns. Some 90% of Chile's telephone service is provided by Chilean Telephone, formerly a subsidiary of ITT. A total of 2.6 million mainline telephones were in use in 1998, the majority located in Santiago. International links are supplied by worldwide radiotelephone service and by international telegraph companies.
In 1996, Chile also used two Atlantic Ocean satellite and three domestic satellite stations. As of 1999 there were 180 AM and 64 FM radio stations and 63 television stations. In 2000, Chile had 354 radios and 242 television sets for every 1,000 people. In 2001, about seven Internet service providers served 1.75 million subscribers.
There were over 80 major daily newspapers as of 2002, the largest of which are in the Santiago-Valparaíso area, where the most important magazines are also published, including the state funded La Nación. Among the best-known magazines are Caras, (1995 circulation 18,000) and Qué Pasa? (20,000). The newspaper El Mercurio (founded in 1827) claims to be the oldest newspaper in the Spanish-speaking world. The El Mercurio chain includes La Segunda and Las Últimas Noticias of Santiago, El Mercurio of Valparaíso, and El Mercurio of Antofagasta.
The names and approximate 2002 circulation figures of the leading daily newspapers of Santiago, Valparaíso, and Concepción were as follows:
|Las Últimas Noticias||150,000|
|El Mercurio de Valparaíso||10,000|
Many of Chile's newspapers and periodicals were closed for political reasons in the aftermath of the 1973 military coup. The lifting of the second state of siege in mid-1985 brought a significant improvement in the area of the freedom of the press. Opposition magazines resumed publication, and editors were no longer required to submit copy to government censors prior to publication; radio and television programs featuring political debates reappeared in the last half of 1985. The print and broadcast media, as of 1999, is largely independent, and the present government is said to fully support a free press and free speech.