Mexican TV and radio stations denounce sanctions for supposed electoral code violations

The National Chamber of the Radio and TV Industry (CIRT in Spanish), which represents the majority of the radio and TV companies in Mexico, announced that it would appeal to international bodies to denounce the current electoral law, which limits freedom of expression and press freedom, reported the newspaper El Universal.

The members of CIRT are concerned that reports, debates or interviews with candidates will be sanctioned by election authorities, added Radio Fórmula. The announcement took place a day after the Electoral Court punished two news agencies. The station CB Televisión was fined for covering political party campaigns in the state of Michoacán, and the station TV Azteca was also fined for broadcasting live images of Mexican boxer Juan Manuel Márquez with the logo of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI in Spanish).

CIRT's press release also mentioned other examples of sanctions and investigations against the media for supposed violations of the electoral code passed in 2007, which prohibits parties and candidates from buying ad space in electronic media. The following are the most recent cases:

-In the state of Tabasco, the radio station Oye 99.9 was sanctioned for “interviewing one of the candidates more than they should have.”

-The electoral court accused 21 stations and 46 journalists of "selling interviews" to the political candidates in Michoacán and penalized pre-candidates from participating in political debates, without evidence that the politicians were actually buying time from the stations to show interviews.

-The court also condemned TV Azteca for an interview with presidential candidate Josefina Vázquez Mota, then pre-candidate in the National Action Party (PAN in Spanish), for supposedly emphasizing her qualities as a candidate.

- One station in the state of Nayarit was sanctioned for organizing a candidate debate, for supposedly selling air time to political parties.