Sarah Abdurrahman is a producer for On the Media
OTM is Going to Mexico!
Friday, June 08, 2012 - 02:06 PM
Next week, On the Media is going into the field to report on foreign media at an important moment in history. In the past, OTM has traveled to Israel and the West Bank, Russia, China, and just last year to Cairo in the aftermath of the Egyptian revolution. This time, we are going somewhere a bit closer to home, but that feels worlds away: Mexico.
Mexico is at a crossroads. The mudslinging election of 2006 prompted electoral reforms in 2007 that limit how and when presidential candidates can campaign. Next month’s presidential election is the first one since the reforms were put in place, but the rise in social media and internet usage has given campaigners a new platform that is difficult for the election commission to regulate.
Social media is also being used to rally people around a new movement: #YoSoy132. Local media are calling it the “Mexican Spring”—students are protesting the relationship between traditional media and politics, and what they allege is bias in favor of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI in Spanish), which ruled Mexico for more than 70 years, and only lost control of the presidency in 2000. PRI’s candidate for this year’s election, Enrique Pena Nieto, is portrayed in the mainstream Mexican media as the obvious front runner. The YoSoy132 movement takes issue with this assumption, and encourages Mexicans to look for other sources of information. YoSoy132 is calling for a massive demonstration on June 10th, and OTM will be there as it happens.
Of course, one can’t talk about the Mexican media landscape without mentioning the danger to journalists reporting there. Back in 2010, we spoke to Gerardo Rodriguez, the editor of the Juarez newspaper El Diario (see audio below). The paper had just run an editorial asking “What do you want from us?” after one of its photographers was gunned down by members of a drug cartel. The internet became an obvious choice to report on the cartels, but as we reported last year, even bloggers and tweeters became targets. With violence against journalists on the rise, and convictions for these acts remaining elusive, the Mexican government this year made it a federal crime to kill a journalist. We will be following up on all these stories from Mexico.
And yet, as bad as the news coming out of Mexico appears to be, the Mexico Tourism Board is reporting an increase of visitors this year. This may be due in part to a massive campaign to improve Mexico’s image on the world stage. We will explore the different faces of Mexico, and how the government is trying to re-brand the troubled nation.
We will be joined on our journey by WNYC reporter Marianne McCune, and just like we did from Cairo, Brooke, Marianne and I will be keeping a blog along the way, so check back here regularly to see our updates. And of course, we would love feedback from you! So if you have any stories you think we should know about in Mexico or have any questions you would like us to try to answer, leave us a comment below, send us an email here , or tweet @onthemedia using the hasthtag #OTMinMexio. We look forward to your suggestions!