Mexico Media Profile
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Mexico Government and Media
Government Type: Federal Republic composed of thirty-two federal entities: thirty-one states
Leader: President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (Head of Government, Head of State, and Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces.)
Political Party: National Regeneration Movement (MORENA)
Political Position: Left
World Press Freedom Rank: Mexico 143/180
Reporters without Borders describe Mexico as “one of the world’s deadliest countries for the media” drawing attention to the “Collusion between officials and organized crime.” Furthermore, the International Press Institute, in 2019 reports “Five journalists killed so far this year, in spite of the commitment to greater safety by President López Obrado.” NPR, in a 2019 report, states “Mexico Surpasses Syria as The Most Dangerous Country for Journalists,” and according to the AP, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador often argues with the press and labels them “fifi,” which is slang for elite or frivolous.”
Government Influence on Media: In Mexico, media outlets are indirectly controlled by the Government since media budgets are derived from government advertising and distributed “based on political leanings”. The ownership of print and broadcast media is dominated by family-owned corporations. In 2017, The New York Times reported, former President Enrique Peña Nieto spent almost 2 billion US Dollars on publicity. This leads to “Soft censorship, or indirect government censorship.” Broadcasting is dominated by two multimedia groups. One is Televisa (owned by the Azcárraga family) and the other is TV-Azteca (owned by Grupo Salinas/Ricardo Salinas Pliego ). In addition, Carlos Slim Helu & family owns America Movil, Latin America’s biggest mobile telecom firm.
Current President Lopez Obrador lowered government spending on advertising which is a part of his broad austerity plan and this was felt by the top two television broadcasters Televisa and TV Azteca. These conglomerate owners’ political affiliations are not easily detectable, however, they rely on government subsidies with their primary revenue from the government. When it comes to print media it has a similar structure of relying on selling advertisements to the government. Among the biggest-selling dailies are Excélsior, La Jornada, Reforma, El Universal, and El Sol de Mexico. For example, the Imagen Multimedia company which is owned by the Vázquez Raña Family favors the PRI party. According to the Media Ownership Monitor, “Imagen Radio, Imagen Televisión, and daily Excelsior’s editorial policy tend to favor the interest of the political party PRI.” They also report “The closeness of the Vázquez Raña family with the politically powerful actors in the country, mainly with the political party PRI is largely documented in reports and briefing notes.” Similar highly complex ties exist with the other prominent family conglomerates and politicians, for more please see the detailed report by the Media Ownership Monitor which is a global research and advocacy initiative launched by Reporter Without Borders to increase transparency about media ownership.
In conclusion, corporate media providers dominate the print and broadcast media, therefore there is significant corporate influence on the media. The corporations are influenced by the government through funding from advertising money, which can lead to bias and self-censorship.
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