Mexico’s presidential candidates battle over television coverage and attack ads

Mexico’s presidential candidates battle over television coverage and attack ads


 Jo Tuckman
The Guardian

MEXICO CITY- Mexico’s leftwing presidential candidate, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, has called on Enrique Peña Nieto, the current favorite to win the election on July 1, to come clean about the alleged purchase of favorable coverage on Mexico’s biggest television network.

His comments came a day after the Guardian published documents implicating the Televisa network in the sale of news and entertainment content to promote Peña Nieto’s national profile when he was the governor of Mexico state and preparing his presidential bid.

“They should hand over all the information, the contracts, that they haven’t wanted to show,” López Obrador told reporters. “Of course they have them, and we need to see how much they paid, for what kind of message, and if they include all the promotion of Peña Nieto on the television.”

López Obrador, who represents a coalition of leftist parties called the Progressive Movement – and who in the past has also been criticized for failing to release details of his own publicity budget – said he wanted to study the documents before saying anything more.

López Obrador did not mention the PowerPoint presentation mentioned in the Guardian story that detailed an apparent strategy within Televisa to destroy his first bid for the presidency in the 2006 election.

Several leading Mexican newspapers and radio shows led on the Guardian report in their Friday editions, and the story has become a trending topic on Twitter in the country. The allegations are particularly sensitive in the current electoral climate, in which student demonstrators accusing Televisa of favoring Peña Nieto have turned alleged media bias into a central issue of the campaign.

In response to a question about the documents on Friday, Peña Nieto told reporters that “they have no solid basis and are not authentic”. The candidate insisted that all publicity spending during his years as governor of the State of Mexico is publicly open to scrutiny on an official website.

Televisa did not feature the allegations in its main nightly news show on Thursday despite the fact that it had already demanded a public apology from the Guardian. In a statement the network – which is the largest in the Spanish-speaking world – lamented what it called the use of “apocryphal material that has been repeatedly published and denied”.

The only document in the Guardian’s report which had previously been published by the Mexican media was one of several versions of a promotional budget apparently developed for Peña Nieto towards the end of 2005 by a Televisa-linked company called Radar Servicios Especializados.

The morning news program on MVS Radio included an interview with a former Televisa employee who revealed an internal electronic chat about that document immediately after its publication in the weekly magazine Proceso that same year.

According to the former employee, Laura Barranco, a news anchor at the channel, Carlos Loret de Mola, who has been a vocal defender of Televisa in recent weeks, wrote: “Everything, absolutely everything, is true.”

The Guardian has also been able to trace evidence which appears to corroborate another file, referring to a promotional campaign for the then president, Vicente Fox, also in 2005.

The document states that, while the cost of the campaign was 60m pesos (£2.8m), the presidential office has been directly billed for only 3m pesos pending instructions on how to arrange payment of the rest. Official accounts for publicity spending by the presidential office for that year include a payment of 3m pesos to Radar.

In a speech made after signing a new anti-corruption law, President Felipe Calderón called on the media “not to generate behavior that is equivalent to corruption, where the truth of the information is subject to an economic transaction”.

Officially reported publicity spending promoting federal government activities has increased sharply during the Calderón administration.


2012 Mexican presidential election to succeed Felipe Calderón


Enrique Peña Nieto

Enrique Peña Nieto, who is age 45, is a member of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (Partido Revolucionario Institucional, PRI). Peña Nieto is the former governor of the State of Mexico from 2005 to 2011.


Bachelor’s degree -Universidad Panamericana

Master’s in Business -Instituto Tecnológico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey (ITESM).

State of Mexico

State of Mexico is one of the 31 states which, with the Federal District, comprise the 32 Federal Entities of the United Mexican States.

The state of Mexico it the most populated state in Mexico with 15,175,862 people. This compares the 5th most populated state in the U.S., Illinois 12,869,257 and the 4th most populated state in the U.S., Florida 19,057,542.

Capital of the State of Mexico is Toluca de Lerdo with a population of over 750,000. The city is located about 39 miles southwest of  Mexico City (Ciudad de México).

The largest city of the State of Mexico is Ecatepec de Morelos,with a population of 1,658,806. It is the most populated suburb of Mexico City (Ciudad de México).


Andrés Manuel López Obrador

Andrés Manuel López Obrador, who is age 59, was the Head of Government of the Federal District (Mexico City) from 2000 to 2005.  López Obrador is the leader of “MORENA” (National Regeneration Movement), representing the coalition between the Party of the Democratic Revolution, the Labor Party and “Movimiento Ciudadano” Party.

Andrés Manuel López Obrador was a member of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (Partido Revolucionario Institucional, PRI) in 1976. He headed the Instituto Indigenista (Indigenous People’s Institute) the southern state of Tabasco. From 1996 to 1999 he was president of the Party of the Democratic Revolution.

In López Obrador unsuccessfully ran for president of Mexico in 2006. Early polls placed López Obrador far ahead of Fox’s protégé Felipe Calderón, but by the date of the election in July 2006, those numbers had been dimished by a strong Calderón media campaign.


From 1972 to 1976 he studied political science and public administration at the National Autonomous University of Mexico.  

Federal District

Mexico City (Federal District/Distrito Federal), capital of Mexico.

The Federal District is a federal entity within Mexico which is not part of any one of the 31 Mexican states, like the District of Columbia and Washington are in the United States.

Mexico City has a population of 8.9 million people and has a metropolitan population of over 21.2 million.

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One Comment on “Mexico’s presidential candidates battle over television coverage and attack ads”

  1. Hormiga Roja Says:

    De hecho, si el acuerdo de apoyo a EPN incluye tambien a SKY Mexico (donde Televisa tiene participacion) el problema podria alcanzar a News Corporation, puesto que esto seria una violacion a la Ley Anti-Corrupcion FCPA, lo que pondria a la compania en una situacion similar a la de Wal-Mart:

    English: In fact, if the agreement also includes support for EPN to SKY Mexico (Televisa where participation) the problem could reach News Corporation, since this would violate the Anti-Corruption FCPA, which would put the company in a situation similar to that of Wal-Mart:

    “The anti-bribery provisions of the FCPA prohibit:

    Issuers, domestic concerns, and any person from making use of interstate commerce corruptly,

    in furtherance of an offer or payment of anything of value to a foreign official, foreign POLITICAL PARTY, or CANDIDATE for POLITICAL office, for the purpose of influencing any act of that foreign official in violation of the duty of that official, or to secure any improper advantage in order to obtain or retain business.”

    “La FCPA prohíbe a las compañías americanas o a cualquiera de sus subsidiarias, y sus empleados, el propiciar directa o indirectamente el soborno a funcionarios públicos en el extranjero con el fin de beneficiarse de esta acción. El incumplimiento puede ocasionar sanciones que van desde multas económicas de 500 mil dólares hasta intervención judicial.”

    English: “The FCPA prohibits U.S. companies or any of its subsidiaries, and their employees, directly or indirectly favor bribery of foreign public officials in order to benefit from this action. Failure to comply may result in sanctions ranging from monetary fines of $ 500,000 to judicial intervention. “


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