Mexico: Much Press, Little Real Freedom

By Richard Seid. Richard Seid is an American lawyer who has lived . | The Christian Science Monitor, March 8, 1993 | Go to article overview

Mexico: Much Press, Little Real Freedom


Richard Seid. Richard Seid is an American lawyer who has lived ., The Christian Science Monitor


WHAT does freedom of the press mean in Mexico? Neither the government nor the media moguls in Mexico want to talk about it. Neither understands or admits to understanding the necessity of a free press to the functioning of a democracy. As Mexico approaches full partnership in free trade with the United States and Canada, there is no real guarantee of the public's right to hear all sides of political issues, so that informed choices can be made at the polls. Canada and the US may have fully discussed the ramifications of border and tariff changes, but the Mexican public has not.

In retrospect, freedom of political expression has never existed in modern Mexico. For decades, there have been practically no openly discussed political issues. The Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), which has been in power since 1929, is more than just the "ruling" political party. It has been virtually synonymous with the government itself. Without real political competition, how and why would freedom of the press become an issue at all?

Times are changing, but slowly. The financial crisis of the 1980s saw the rise of real political competition in some Mexican states, which culminated in the hotly contested 1988 federal election. It is creditably alleged that only election fraud kept the opposition left-center Democratic Revolutionary Party (PRD) from winning the presidency.

Moreover, the challenging parties had virtually no access to television, which is controlled by the PRI. During its decades in power the PRI has secured almost complete control over the rest of the media as well. This is done mainly through payments. Sometimes the process is sophisticated, but more often the payments are blatant gifts or cash given to underpaid reporters and editors, with the complete acquiescence of their employers. There has been a slight improvement: As of last month, by presidential order, government payments to the media are to be accounted for. But there has been no effort to restrain them.

THE newspapers themselves are sponsored not only by advertising, but also by government-paid articles. There are more than 20 daily newspapers in Mexico City. What looks like a vigorous press is actually heavily dependent on government money. It is doubtful that more than a handful would survive under a freely competitive system without government contributions. Thus indebted to the government for their existence, many papers are readily disposed to print the party line. The reason the government keeps all these newspapers going is so that no paper will become dominant.

Until last year, the government held the monopoly on the newsprint supply. Paper supplies could be cut off to a nonconforming publication. The paper supply has been privatized, but now if a newspaper becomes too critical, they are subject to repeated financial audits. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Mexico: Much Press, Little Real Freedom
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.