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Businessmen, Partisans and Oligarchs: Political Control, News Production Philosophies And Partisan Bias In Mexican Television News
Unformatted Document Text:  2 For citizens really to be able to vote freely, the organization of elections must give political contenders a margin of equity in aspects such as access to the communication media, especially to television. If this margin of equity between the political parties and candidates who participate in the elections is guaranteed, it also will be guaranteed that voters will have enough options to chose with absolute liberty the candidates and parties that best fit their political convictions and they will not fall victim to … the saturation of propaganda about those who have received a great advantage from media. 1 During the last two decades, dozens of countries have made the transition from autocracy to something resembling democratic government. In analyzing this wave of democratization, scholars have devoted tremendous attention to the institutional choices and arrangements that influence the way democracy actually functions: executive-legislative arrangements, federalism, the timing and sequencing of economic reforms, etc. Their analysis offers democratic-minded actors in government and civil society some guidance about the tradeoffs involved in drafting constitutions and reforming authoritarian institutions. To date, however, much less attention has been paid to the creation of the institutions that guarantee an independent and pluralistic media. How do the choices that political leaders make during democratic transition shape their country’s “media regime”? Under what circumstances will democratization in other spheres of political life spill over to the mass media? Given the recognized importance of the mass media in the operation of modern democracy, the institutional arrangements and choices that lead to a more open media regime deserve greater attention. The degree of pluralism and independence in the media influences citizens’ understanding of democratic processes and knowledge of their political alternatives. Likewise, an open media regime facilitates scrutiny of official actions and decisions, thus allowing citizens to hold their leaders accountable. 1 Decision of Mexico’s Federal Superior Electoral Court annulling the Tabasco state governor’s race, 29 December 2000. Federal Superior Electoral Tribunal, "Juicio De Revisión Constitucional Electoral,", (2000): 543. Translation by authors.

Authors: Hughes, Sallie. and Lawson, Chappell.
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2
For citizens really to be able to vote freely, the organization of elections must give
political contenders a margin of equity in aspects such as access to the
communication media, especially to television. If this margin of equity between the
political parties and candidates who participate in the elections is guaranteed, it also
will be guaranteed that voters will have enough options to chose with absolute
liberty the candidates and parties that best fit their political convictions and they
will not fall victim to … the saturation of propaganda about those who have
received a great advantage from media.
1
During the last two decades, dozens of countries have made the transition from autocracy
to something resembling democratic government. In analyzing this wave of democratization,
scholars have devoted tremendous attention to the institutional choices and arrangements that
influence the way democracy actually functions: executive-legislative arrangements, federalism,
the timing and sequencing of economic reforms, etc. Their analysis offers democratic-minded
actors in government and civil society some guidance about the tradeoffs involved in drafting
constitutions and reforming authoritarian institutions. To date, however, much less attention has
been paid to the creation of the institutions that guarantee an independent and pluralistic media.
How do the choices that political leaders make during democratic transition shape their country’s
“media regime”? Under what circumstances will democratization in other spheres of political
life spill over to the mass media?
Given the recognized importance of the mass media in the operation of modern
democracy, the institutional arrangements and choices that lead to a more open media regime
deserve greater attention. The degree of pluralism and independence in the media influences
citizens’ understanding of democratic processes and knowledge of their political alternatives.
Likewise, an open media regime facilitates scrutiny of official actions and decisions, thus
allowing citizens to hold their leaders accountable.
1
Decision of Mexico’s Federal Superior Electoral Court annulling the Tabasco state governor’s race, 29 December
2000. Federal Superior Electoral Tribunal, "Juicio De Revisión Constitucional Electoral,", (2000): 543. Translation
by authors.


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