Guatemala //

The media

There are some decent English-language publications available in Guatemala, mainly geared towards the tourist market. It’s easy to keep up to date with current affairs online by using internet cafés or wi-fi.

Newspapers and magazines

Guatemala has a number of daily newspapers. The best of the dailies is the forthright El Periódico (w elperiodico.com.gt), which has some excellent columnists and investigative journalism. Siglo 21 (w s21.com.gt) is also a good read. Guatemala’s most popular paper is the Prensa Libre (w prensalibre.com), which features comprehensive national and quite reasonable international coverage. In the Quetzaltenango area, check out the local paper Quetzalteco (w elquetzalteco.com.gt). As for the periodicals, La Crónica (w lacronica.com) concentrates on current Guatemalan political affairs and business news with a smattering of foreign coverage.

In theory, the nation’s newspapers are not subject to restrictions, though pressures and threats are still exerted by criminal gangs and those in authority. Being a campaigning journalist in Guatemala is a dangerous profession, and every year there are several contract killings.

There are several free English-language publications, which can be picked up in hotels and restaurants where tourists congregate. Revue (w revuemag.com) is a glossy colour magazine with articles about Guatemalan culture and history plus hundreds of advertisements. Based in Antigua, La Cuadra (w lacuadraonline.com) adopts an irreverent, satirical tone and has discursive features about everything from politics to art. In the Quetzaltenango area, Xela Who? (w xelawho.com) concentrates on cultural life in the second city, with bar and restaurant reviews and culture and transport information. For coverage of development issues and Guatemalan society pick up a copy of Entremundos (w entremundos.org), which is widely available in Quetzaltenango.

For really in-depth reporting and analysis, the Central America Report (w central-america-report.org.uk) is superb, with coverage of all the main political issues, and investigations. Head to the website w guatemala-times.com for news about Guatemala in English.

As for foreign publications, Newsweek, Time and some US newspapers are available in quality bookstores around the country.

Radio and television

Guatemala has an abundance of radio stations, though variety is not their strong point. Most transmit a turgid stream of Latin pop and cheesy merengue, which you’re sure to hear plenty of on the buses. Try Atmosfera (96.5FM) for rock, Radio Infinita (100.1FM) which is eclectic by nature and strong on indie and electronica, or La Marca on (94.1FM) for reggaeton. Radio Punto (90.5FM) has news and discussions.

Television stations are also in plentiful supply. Most of them broadcast Mexican and US shows (which are subtitled or dubbed into Spanish). Many hotel rooms have cable TV, which often includes (English-language) CNN and sometimes the National Geographic channel.

Sadly the BBC World Service is no longer broadcast in Central America. For Voice of America frequencies consult w voa.gov.