IAPA concerned at attacks on Mexico's El Universal

Leaders of the National Action Party used spaces sponsored by the State in electronic media to intimidate the newspaper.

MIAMI, Florida (November 21, 2017)—The Inter American Press Association (IAPA) today expressed concern at the decision of Mexico's federal electoral authorities to allow leaders of the National Action Party (PAN) to use spaces in electronic media sponsored by the government to attack reports by the newspaper El Universal concerning alleged corruption of the president of that organization, Ricardo Anaya.

The National Electoral Institute (INE) authorized Anaya to provide, with the Mexican government being charged, thousands of radio and television ads to promote a legal complaint of a personal nature being made against El Universal as result of reports in which is questioned his enrichment since he became the PAN president.

The lawsuit is underway in the courts and no final ruling has been issued.

The Mexican electoral law expects the privately-owned electronic media to cover the government as consideration of defined spaces that are used for campaigns of public interest and for political parties to give awareness of their programmatic proposals and achieve that the citizens make an informed vote.

Gustavo Mohme, IAPA president and editor of the Peruvian newspaper La República, declared that this matter "is giving rise to a harmful precedent for the political life of Mexico, as parties are permitted to use government spaces to intimidate media and thus block freedom of expression, which can amount to an act of intimidation and of prior censorship of freedom of the press and of opinion."

Roberto Rock, who chairs the IAPA's Committee on Freedom of the Press and Information and heads the Mexico City portal La Silla Rota, deplored the fact that "the INE authorities have not had the sensitivity to take precautionary measures to withdraw the ads," as was formally requested by El Universal, and he called on the appropriate federal court to intervene in this matter.

The IAPA is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to the defense and promotion of freedom of the press and of expression in the Americas. It is made up of more than 1,300 publications from throughout the Western Hemisphere and is based in Miami, Florida.