A Culture of Collusion: An Inside Look at the Mexican Press

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A Culture of Collusion: An Inside Look at the Mexican Press

Edited by William A. Orme, Jr.
North-South Center Press, 1997
159 pp. $16.95
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A timely and valuable book on a long-taboo topic on the U.S.-Mexico horizon: the complex relationship between the ostensibly independent Mexican news media and the governing party. This well-documented study claims the relationship is often sustained by subsidies, bribery, fear, and, on occasion, murder. The result of a two-year investigative project by the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists, headed by Orme, this pioneering report reveals a pattern of violence against journalists outside the capital and includes brief histories of 11 Mexican reporters who were killed in mysterious circumstances over the past 10 years. A chapter by Marjorie Miller and Juanita Darling, both formerly with The Los Angeles Times, Mexico City bureau, also explores the financial and political interests of Emilio Azcarraga's Televisa empire and the growing Mexican influence on Spanish-language news broadcasting in the United States. Under the North American Free Trade Agreement, Orme says, there is no "level playing field." U.S. law permits Mexican companies to control U.S. cable networks and news programming, but NAFTA allows no more than 49 percent U.S. ownership in Mexican cable television networks. The independence of the press in the July 1997 legislative contest, Orme believes, will be the best test yet of past reforms and President Zedillo's commitment to democracy and an open society, since the party bosses can be expected to use all the traditional levers of coercion and co-optation at their disposal.