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Bias in Government Funding of Media in Mexico

Published October 1, 2022 in Mexico - 0 Comments

I was sitting in a Starbucks as you can see here.

In front of the Angel of Independence statue of Mexico City.

Newspaper in hand.

At this Starbucks, they often always have the latest newspaper of the day for anyone who wants to read it.

Oddly enough, I happen to be the only person who ever picks it up.

It's not like the other customers are all gringos who can't read Spanish.

Quite often it seems like they have more Mexicans than gringos.

Thankful actually that nobody else wants to read the newspaper as they don't have many copies at this place.

Anyway, I'm going through the news as usual when I am there.

And, as I am reading it, it all seems OK.

There's a cartoon or two that I see that seem critical of the Mexican President AMLO.

The articles written don't seem overly biased though from my perspective.

Though they have have some interesting bits like you can see here.

And I don't remember which newspaper it was, I think it was El Universal (though I could be wrong).

At any rate, I'll be the first to admit that, despite occasionally picking up a newspaper in Mexico, I'm not always overly familiar with who is biased in which direction.

To the left or the right?

In the US, obviously a lot of the news has its own bias depending on who you listen to or read from.

Here in Mexico, I always knew though that La Jornada has a very strong left leaning bias given my experience learning about the Zapatista movement as I wrote here.

I just remember all of the reporting La Jornada did on them decades ago.

And one could reasonably assume that, if things are like back home, that any newspaper named after something that sounds like something business related might or probably is right leaning.

For that reason, I just always assumed that El Financiero is more biased to the right.

Though there was one thing I never knew about Mexico and its news reporting until recently.

On the Boat in Xochimilco

As you can read in other articles, I've spent several trips to Xochimilco just hanging with other strangers on the water.

I've grown to like it quite a bit.

On my last trip, there was a Mexican couple that I had gotten to know a little bit over my 5 hours on that boat ride for that day.

The conversations were mostly chill and had nothing to do with politics.

Though we did discuss a few more sensitive topics like all the new gringos in town and what they think.

And, during the conversation, they mentioned something peculiar about Mexico that I literally didn't know until they told me.

That is that there is some bias that some Mexican government administrations have in favor of some news companies over others.

And, when the administration changes from the left to the right or the right to the left, that you have a shift in the funding given to the news organizations that exist.

I had no idea that some news companies here in Mexico get more funding depending on how critical they are of the current Mexican administration in office and if they are aligned politically with said administration.

Out of curiosity, I looked into it briefly to see if I could find any evidence.

The Shift in Funding for News Organizations in Mexico

First, we have the current Mexican President AMLO.

As you can see here, he seems to have a financial bias for companies like La Jornada.

No surprise there.

Next we have another administration from Enrique Peña Nieto.

As you can see here, he was pretty generous also for his own selection of journalistic companies.

"En el gobierno de Enrique Peña Nieto hubo un festín con dinero público para los dueños de grandes consorcios de medios de comunicación: televisoras, radiodifusoras y periódicos."

"Con una considerable “ampliación” de 102 por ciento, el gasto gubernamental para publicidad se elevó en 6 años de la administración anterior a 51 mil 893 millones 753 mil pesos.

Sólo siete medios de comunicación: Grupo Televisa, TV Azteca, Grupo Imagen, Grupo Fórmula, El Universal, Organización Editorial Mexicana (El Sol de México) y Grupo Milenio, recibieron el 47.6 por ciento de ese total de dinero público, es decir 24 mil 729 millones 796 mil pesos, prácticamente la mitad de todo el presupuesto destinado para medios."

Anything to Add?

To be fair, I'm not painting this as some new revelation about Mexican society.

I know that most likely lots of people already know this detail about life in Mexico.

Simply pointing it out because I learned about it recently and figured I'd throw a threw words down to illustrate this aspect to life here and the news you are reading.

Especially for foreigners new to the country who might want to read the local news to learn more about Mexico and/or improve their Spanish reading skills.

Just like back home, you should be careful with what news sources you read.

Everyone has their bias.

Though, as I said, I didn't know that the bias was this direct in Mexico where the amount of funding changes dramatically depending on how critical you are of the current administration and if your news company is politically aligned with said administration.

Definitely calls into question the quality of the democracy here.

Among other issues like the amount of journalists that get killed.

Anyway, I don't want to make it seem either like the US is perfect.

I know some people will react that way reading this.

We obviously have our own issues with the media also.

Still, it's an aspect to life down here for some other foreigners like myself to be aware of when reading the news.

Nothing more.

It also does make me wonder how common this is in other countries around the world, including others in Latin America.

But I'll leave it at that for now.

Just a detail to life down here (at least when reading the news).

If you got anything to add, drop a comment below.

And follow my Twitter here.

Thanks for reading.

Best regards,


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