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From TV Azteca to Aztec TV?

8 June 2007

The U.S. television companies, especially those like Telemundo and Univision, have been complaining for years that Mexican TV is too limited. It is, but then, how many telenovelas and game shows do you need. Breaking up Televisa into two networks a few years back was considered a “great leap forward” at the time. It doubled the number of stories about poor but honest country girls overcoming the obstacles to win the hearts of the tall, dark and handsome rich guy.

Oh, but the argument is that Mexican TV news is controlled. Which is true. But, then, how much alternative TV news do we get in the U.S. or Canada or anywhere else.

Not that Televisa doesn’t sometimes do a good job. During the Iraq/ Afghanistan War, they did an excellent job, mostly because they were from a neutral country, and because they had to get creative in some coverage… using Cuban, Colombian and other outside media, or finding correspondents you normally wouldn’t have on our networks (I remember at one point they had a Russian who taught Spanish in Uzbekistan — an strategic player in the Iraq/Afganistan occupation, but one not even the U.S. networks ever talked about at the time).

And, in a shining moment, during the attempted 2002 coup in Venezuela, which the Venezuelan private channel supported, and refused to cover, Televisa’s Caracas bureau simply stuck cameras out the window and fed the signal live

But, for the most part, Televisa and the “competing” TV Azteca” and Galavision are the same network… and the news is obviously shaped. A lot of reporting on whatever the President (the one in Los Pinos) is doing, a studied non-reporting on the other President (and anything else that contradicts the official line. While mistakes in the “drug war” are reported, it’s mostly Felipe Calderón standing around in a uniform looking like he’s doing something worthwhile).

I used to watch Canal Onze (the Polytechnical Institute’s Mexico City channel… which was sort of the PBS style McNeil-Leher report, especially after veteran news anchor Adriana Perez-Canaño was reporting on looting in Bagdad after the U.S./British/Spanish occupation, and was reading a script quoting Donald Rumsfelt who said there was no looting, threw the script in the air, and said “I’m not going to report this bullshit!”) or Canal 40 (which was so broke, they could get away with telling the truth… all their newsmen seemed to have second jobs).

CNN-Español is available on cable, but even pro-U.S. Mexicans question their integrity and independence. They’re anti-Venezuela biases and the way they reported the Mexican presidential elections made it clear they were not to be trusted.

MSNBC has been trying to get in, but so far, there is no El Fox (other than Los Simpsons, the most popular gringos in the country).

I don’t think the U.S. networks counted on this. Andrea Becerril and Jesus Aranda wrote in yesterday’s Jornada about the possibility of a whole new bunch of players (my translation):

A plenary session of the Supreme Court of National Justice (SCJN, the Mexican Supreme Court), criticized the federal congress for not fulfilling their consitutional mandate to establish legal norms that would give indigenous communities access to their own radio and television stations.

Concluding an analysis of the unconsitutionality of the existing so-called ley Televisa, a majority of eight justices voted that the present law did not meet the objectives of Article 2 of tla Constitution, and outlined actions to be taken by the the Legislature and the President. One possible action could be a complete replacement of the Federal Telecommunications Commission (Cofetel), which Justice Mariano Azuela specifically called upon President Felipe Calderon to do.

Because of a legal technicality, the judges did not throw out the ley Televisa on constitutional grounds at this point, but did clearly signal the deputies and senators that the existing law violates the 2002 addition to the Constitution.

Justice Genaro David Góngora Pimente said, “We clearly find that the legislature has beenviolating the consitution for the last six years, inflicting new wounds to the rights of the the Indigenous communities, which the Constitutional change was supposed to correct.”

By way of remedy,Sergio Salvador Aguirre Anguiano proposed that Article 18 of the Federal Radio and Telecommunication Law (LFRT, in Spanish) be abolished, since it does not establish conditions under which an indigenous town or community can acquire, operate or administer communications media.

Aguirre Anguiano explained at yesterday’s court session that when the 2002 Constitutional changes relating to Indigenous peoples were implemented, the opportunity to correct the LFRT was rejected by the Legislature.

Discusssion yesterday centered on the narrow technical question of whether or not the Supreme Court could declare a law unconstitional for what was NOT included.

The majority considered the law unconstitional, but Chief Justice Guillermo I. Ortiz Mayagoitia warned that by ordering changes, the court was taking an action reserved to the Legislature.

OK, they’ll slant the news their way, but wow… woudln’t it be neat to see the Mayan Channel’s remake of “Apocolipto” (Mel Gibson is sarcrifed to Chac Mol). And what’s the Nahuatl word for telenovela?


4 Comments leave one →
  1. tizoc permalink
    8 June 2007 4:19 pm

    actually even though I wouldn’t trust news about Mexico from a mexican televion channel, they do better reporting about the United States that our own networks

  2. 22 February 2008 11:48 am

    @tizoc Yeah. You usually get a more unbiased picture of yourself from an outsider.

  3. 20 May 2009 5:22 am

    I enjoyed this site very much and have taken away a better insight. I will recommend this site to everyone I know. More people should step into .


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