MVS Radio becomes first commercial broadcaster with an ombudsman in Mexico

Multivisión (MVS), the same Mexican broadcaster that fired a journalist in February 2011 for commenting on opposition allegations that President Felipe Calderón was an alcoholic, has created an ombudsman position at the station, El Informador reports.

According to El Universal, MVS radio is the first commercial broadcaster in Mexico with an official media watchdog post, joining public and university stations like Canal 22, Canal Once, Radio Educación, and the University of Guadalajara.

The station’s first ombudsman will be former Proceso magazine reporter Gerardo Albarrán de Alba, a specialist in freedom of expression and information access issues, @Juarez explains.

In an interview with Carmen Aristegui – the journalist who MVS fired and then rehired in the face of widespread criticism – Albarrán said he would not act as a censor, but would work to promote transparency from his post “as the ethical conscience” of the broadcaster.

“I hope to set an important precedent for private broadcasting in Mexico,” he said.

In this sense, MVS joins the network of Latin American media watchdogs which include: the the International Center for Advanced Communications Study in Latin America, CIESPAL (Ecuador); the Regional Media Observatory (Brazil); Project Censored Latin America (Chile); the National Media Observatory, Onadem (Bolivia); the Ibero-American Association of Information and Communication Law, AIDIC (Argentina); Canal 22 (Mexico); the Foundation for Freedom of Expression, Fundalex (Mexico); Radio Educación (Mexico); and the Mexican Radio Institute, IMER (Mexico).

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.