Mexican citizens can’t buy electoral ads on radio and TV, Supreme Court rules

The Supreme Court rejected an appeal initiated by a group of 15 journalists and academics against a constitutional provision that bans private individuals from buying electoral ad space on radio and TV, Milenio reports.

The judges ruled the appeal was not the ideal way to challenge reforms to the Constitution, Televisa says, but some ruled in favor of the Court revising constitutional reforms, El Universal adds. In late January, the Court’s vote on the topic ended in a tie, and the Inter American Press Association (IAPA) later urged the court to respect the rights of citizens to express their opinions publicly.

In this way, the court confirmed—after a nearly four-year process—that only the Federal Electoral Institute (IFE) has the right to place advertising on radio and TV to influence citizen votes, Informador.com.mx says.

A constitutional amendment in November 2007 removed citizens’ ability to buy political ads. The move sparked more than 250 appeals, Terra says. Among those most affected are the country’s TV stations, which had supported the appeal, Proceso explains.

The lawyer for the intellectuals, Vicente Aguinaco, warned that he will take the case before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights to accuse the Mexican state of violating the right to freedom of expression. "In México we have no access to justice… ; in a matter as important as access to justice, such as rights to equality and rights to freedom of expression,” he said as quoted by TV Azteca.

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.

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