Teaching Comparative Government and Politics

Monday, June 11, 2012

Mexico protests

Protests in Mexico focus on the roles media play in promoting candidates.

Mexican youth protest in streets against corporate media and PRI candidate
Compared with historic, brutal, high-stakes presidential elections here in the past, this has been an important but blah campaign season in Mexico. But recent protests by college students and other young people have added a spark.
Members of the under-25 demographic are calling out the country’s duopolistic media companies and politically cozy broadcasters as propaganda masters and kingmakers — while warning that the front-running candidate, the telegenic Cheshire Cat named Enrique Peña Nieto, is an empty suit…
[T]he stakes, for Mexico, and the United States, are high: a possible comeback by Peña Nieto’s Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), which ran Mexico with an autocratic combination of corruption and coercion for 71 years until it was tossed out in 2000…
At a dozen large rallies over the past two weeks in several major cities, thousands of young people took to the streets to protest what they see as media manipulation and thwarted democracy. One of the signs read: “Peña Nieto — the television is yours, the streets are ours!”
Peña Nieto, 45, is married to a soap-opera star from the Televisa network, and his critics say he has received overwhelmingly favorable coverage from the No. 1 broadcaster, which reaches 70 percent of Mexican households…
The student movement started May 11 when Peña Nieto was jeered during an appearance at the Ibero-American University for his role as governor of the state of Mexico in calling in police to put down a 2006 protest by flower vendors, which resulted in mass arrests and left two dead. After some in the audience shouted “assassin,” Peña Nieto left the stage.
Ibero-American University is a private college attended mostly by the well-to-do children of Mexico’s elites, called “fresas,” or strawberries…
At a protest this week, the students presented a letter to the interior minister, Alejandro Poire, demanding that he force all broadcasters, radio and television, to air the second, and likely last, presidential debate, scheduled for June 10.
The broadcast of the first debate on May 6 stirred controversy when TV Azteca declined to air it on its major channels — because there was a semifinal soccer match at the same hour. The station’s billionaire owner, Ricardo Salinas, taunted critics via his Twitter account that the sports event would get higher ratings.
It did not…

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