Expelled from Mexican radio after “blow from censorship,” Carmen Aristegui’s show returns via the internet

“We are back here after a year, ten months in which this group of journalists, of which I am part, suffered under a blow from censorship that expelled us from Mexican radio.” This is how Mexican journalist Carmen Aristegui began the first internet broadcast of the new version of her traditional radio program “Aristegui En Vivo.”

The premiere was Monday, Jan. 16, and the program, which now has a video component, will be broadcast daily on the Aristegui Noticias site, where each broadcast will be archived so it can be viewed on-demand.

The return of the program was preceded by a campaign on social networks, were Aristegui’s promotional video went viral. The program gained the attention of thousands of Mexicans with the question “Did they really think they were going to shut us up?”

The 2015 departure of Aristegui as well as her team from MVS radio group was plagued by complaints of censorship and even street protests demanding their return to radio.

In her internet premiere on Jan. 16, Aristegui recalled the episode that, according to her, “detonated” her departure from the radio group: the work of her investigative unit that became known worldwide as “La Casa Blanca de Peña Nieto” (The White House of Peña Nieto). For this reason, Aristegui said, a “group of more than 20 journalists were thrown into the street.”

The report revealed an alleged conflict of interest on the part of the country’s president, Enrique Peña Nieto, who lived with his family in an expensive mansion built by a firm that is also a contractor with the government.

The publication of this report was followed by a crisis between the owners of the radio group and the journalists, according to media reports. On March 12, 2015, journalists Irwing Huerta and Daniel Lizárraga, of the investigative unit, were dismissed and accused of abuse of trust for having given their support to the Mexicoleaks platform without authorization of the radio group, according to the organization’s directors.

The owners of MVS fired Aristegui on March 15 after she demanded the return of her colleagues. Although she filed an amparo to return to work, this was denied.

In the return of her radio program, Aristegui remembers these events, but added that all the details are in the book of journalists Huerta, Lizárraga, Rafael Cabrera and Sebastián Barragán. Aristegui wrote the prologue to that book, “La Casa Blanca de Peña Nieto: the story that broke a government,” which led to a lawsuit against her by Joaquín Vargas, owner of the MVS company for the crime of “moral damage.”

“I have already received a first sentence, incredible as it may seem, for making excessive use of freedom of expression,” Aristegui said in her program. She added that she will continue to defend herself in court.

The journalist also mentioned the break-in at the headquarters of the digital site Aristegui Noticias in November. As she said at the time, she insisted that it was not a robbery but an event to “make us afraid.”

“I will not take more time for the subject of censorship, judicial harassment and intimidation. Not at least on this day that is a party for us. We are back with you!,” the journalist said on Monday after recounting the events that had affected them.

The new radio program will be broadcast Monday to Friday at 8 a.m. in Mexico. However, the programs will be available on-demand, so those who could not follow them live can do so online at a later time.

Note from the editor: This story was originally published by the Knight Center’s blog Journalism in the Americas, the predecessor of LatAm Journalism Review.