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Businessmen, Partisans and Oligarchs: Political Control, News Production Philosophies And Partisan Bias In Mexican Television News
Unformatted Document Text:  7 affiliated with the main networks or had received their licenses from friends in the government. Perhaps most importantly, the laws on broadcasting gave the government broad discretion to withdraw concessions. 13 Mexico’s economic and political transitions gradually altered the incentive structure for broadcasters. Most importantly, the privatization of state-owned television channels and the creation of Televisión Azteca provided Televisa with real competition for the first time. 14 Although Televisión Azteca’s reporting was not radically different, competition for market share did encourage both networks to experiment with more balanced coverage. In electoral news, bias against the opposition moderated in the 1994 presidential election as compared to 1988. 15 Coverage became more balanced still after the death of longtime Televisa owner Emilio Azcárraga Milmo and the ascendance of his more commercially-oriented son, Emilio Azcárraga Jean, in April 1997 -- less than three months before that year’s midterm elections. 16 At the same time, sweeping market-oriented reform during the late 1980s and 1990s diminished the regime’s control over advertising revenues. In the early 1980s, the government Editorial Grijalbo, 2000). Antonio E. Zazur Osorio, El Estado y el modelo de televisión adoptado en México, 1950-2000 (Mexico City: Metropolitan Autonomous University, 1996); Alejandro Olmos, “Algunos protagonistas de la televisión,” in Miguel Angel Sánchez de Armas and María del Pilar Ramírez Sevilla, eds., Apuntes para una historia de la televisión mexicana II (Mexico City: Revista Mexicana de Comunicación and Televisa, 1999); Juan José Miró, La televisión y el poder político en México (Mexico City: Diana, 1997); Chappell Lawson, Building the Fourth Estate, Chapters 4-5. 13 For instance, under the 1960 Federal Law on Radio and Television, concessionaires had an obligation to improve “the moral, cultural, and artistic” quality of their programming, and under the Regulation of the Federal Law on Radio and Television, published in April 4, 1973, the executive branch was given substantial powers that implied political surveillance. Likewise, Article 19 of the 1960 Federal Law on Radio and Television gave the Secretary of Communication and Transportation the authority to award concessions according to “its free judgment”; Section IX of Article 31 gave it the right to withdraw concessions for reasons not enumerated in the previous eight articles. See Manuel Alejandro Guerrero Martínez, The Political Openness of the Broadcast Media in Mexico: The Predominance of Economic and Entrepreneurial Interests (PhD dissertation, Department of Social and Political Sciences, European University Institute, Florence, Italy, 2002), Chapter 2. 14 See Alva de la Selva, “La televisión en 1997: expansión y lucha de poder,” Revista Mexicana de Comunicación, 52 (January-February), 1998; Chappell Lawson, Building the Fourth Estate, Chapter 6. 15 Karla Monica and Frausto Crotte Casillas Bermúdez, Salvador, “Parcialidad En El Manejo Informativo Del Noticierio 24 Horas En Los Procesos Electorales De 1988 Y 1994” (Unpublished thesis, Universidad Tecnológica de México, 1999).

Authors: Hughes, Sallie. and Lawson, Chappell.
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7
affiliated with the main networks or had received their licenses from friends in the government.
Perhaps most importantly, the laws on broadcasting gave the government broad discretion to
withdraw concessions.
13
Mexico’s economic and political transitions gradually altered the incentive structure for
broadcasters. Most importantly, the privatization of state-owned television channels and the
creation of Televisión Azteca provided Televisa with real competition for the first time.
14
Although Televisión Azteca’s reporting was not radically different, competition for market share
did encourage both networks to experiment with more balanced coverage. In electoral news,
bias against the opposition moderated in the 1994 presidential election as compared to 1988.
15
Coverage became more balanced still after the death of longtime Televisa owner Emilio
Azcárraga Milmo and the ascendance of his more commercially-oriented son, Emilio Azcárraga
Jean, in April 1997 -- less than three months before that year’s midterm elections.
16
At the same time, sweeping market-oriented reform during the late 1980s and 1990s
diminished the regime’s control over advertising revenues. In the early 1980s, the government
Editorial Grijalbo, 2000). Antonio E. Zazur Osorio, El Estado y el modelo de televisión adoptado en México, 1950-
2000
(Mexico City: Metropolitan Autonomous University, 1996); Alejandro Olmos, “Algunos protagonistas de la
televisión,” in Miguel Angel Sánchez de Armas and María del Pilar Ramírez Sevilla, eds., Apuntes para una historia
de la televisión mexicana II (Mexico City: Revista Mexicana de Comunicación
and Televisa, 1999); Juan José Miró,
La televisión y el poder político en México (Mexico City: Diana, 1997); Chappell Lawson, Building the Fourth
Estate,
Chapters 4-5.
13
For instance, under the 1960 Federal Law on Radio and Television, concessionaires had an obligation to improve
“the moral, cultural, and artistic” quality of their programming, and under the Regulation of the Federal Law on
Radio and Television, published in April 4, 1973, the executive branch was given substantial powers that implied
political surveillance. Likewise, Article 19 of the 1960 Federal Law on Radio and Television gave the Secretary of
Communication and Transportation the authority to award concessions according to “its free judgment”; Section IX
of Article 31 gave it the right to withdraw concessions for reasons not enumerated in the previous eight articles. See
Manuel Alejandro Guerrero Martínez, The Political Openness of the Broadcast Media in Mexico: The
Predominance of Economic and Entrepreneurial Interests
(PhD dissertation, Department of Social and Political
Sciences, European University Institute, Florence, Italy, 2002), Chapter 2.
14
See Alva de la Selva, “La televisión en 1997: expansión y lucha de poder,” Revista Mexicana de Comunicación,
52 (January-February), 1998; Chappell Lawson, Building the Fourth Estate, Chapter 6.
15
Karla Monica and Frausto Crotte Casillas Bermúdez, Salvador, “Parcialidad En El Manejo Informativo Del
Noticierio 24 Horas En Los Procesos Electorales De 1988 Y 1994” (Unpublished thesis, Universidad Tecnológica
de México, 1999).


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