Swallowing Mexico’s Air Waves.

A summary and expansion of an article that appeared in our local newspaper, by one of my favorite Mexican thinkers: Political Science Professor Denise Dresser—with a editorial dusting of changing and possibly gently mixed metaphors by me.

How do I put this? When the corporate world and its selected leader—President Peña Nieto of Mexico—talk about and push through a telecommunications reform, it means they’re not going to steal just one more pig, but rather all of them.

A few days ago, in Mexico City, protesters linked hands and created a human chain that reached from Los Pinos—the equivalent of the White House—all the way to the offices of Televisa, one the two communications monopolies in Mexico.

That corporate giant and TVAzteca are Mexico’s Charybdis and Scylla, out of Greek myth, the one a great whirlpool, the other a monster, each capable of swallowing up Mexico’s freedom of expression whole.

If you had watched the last presidential election, the PRI candidate Peña Nieto was everywhere and opposition candidate Lopez Obrador hardly seen at all; and when seen, always cleverly painted as a friend of Hugo Chavez of Venezuela, i.e. as a populist crazy that would destroy our treasured Mexican democracy.

The so-called reform is part of a pattern of cementing corporate control, in partnership with the PRI, the party that held dictatorial control for 71 years and is now in power again, thanks to the absence of independent agencies that can regulate the two media giants. The latter speak seamlessly in favor of the oligarchy and show little interest in the public’s right to a meaningful public debate.

Neither Televisa nor TVAzteca, for example, bothered to cover the human chain between Los Pinos and Televisa’s offices.

As in the United States, the major news media ignore, for the most part, dissenting and independent political and social voices. And those who appear as experts and pundits have long since been suborned by the subsidies available to the media monsters and their political and financial allies. The interests of investors and the ruling political class eclipse those of the vulnerable and unrepresented: Indians, women, children, farmers, the under-employed, under-fed and public needs like meaningful education, security reform and state support for the Rule of Law.

In a disturbing development in the telecommunications reform, the President and the Secretary of the Interior will have the power to censor Internet communications, including email, Twitter, Facebook messaging and others.

In this trend, censorship poses as modernization; and dictatorial control, as democracy.

The PRI and the two media monopolies Televisa and TVAzteca—Charybdis and Scylla.

Postscript: In the meantime, Denise Dresser has received threats for the article this summary is based on.

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