Mexican regulators ban showing president’s full conferences
MEXICO CITY (AP) — Mexico’s election regulatory agency announced Tuesday it will ban media outlets from transmitting at full length President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s daily morning news conferences.
The temporary ban is aimed at ensuring equity in the country’s June congressional and state elections, after opposition parties complained that López Obrador uses the conferences to tout his public works projects and criticize opponents.
The campaigns, and the ban, start April 4. The hours-long, free-wheeling press conferences have become staple viewing for many Mexicans.
Under rules announced by the head of the Federal Electoral Institute, TV stations won’t be able to broadcast them live, without interruption, but can use excerpts until the June 6 vote is over. It was unclear if the ban applied to social media, where the conferences are also aired in their entirety.
Media ad purchases and air time are strictly regulated under Mexican electoral law.
The decision by the independent electoral institute sets up a likely conflict with López Obrador, who has cast doubt in the past on the usefulness of autonomous regulatory agencies, which he calls wasteful and unnecessary.
Earlier Tuesday, before the rules were entirely clear, López Obrador railed against any ban.
“Now that censorship is in style internationally, they want to silence us,” López Obrador said at his morning news conference, in apparent reference to decisions by Twitter and Facebook to suspend the accounts of U.S. President Donald Trump.
The Mexican president, who has had friendly relations with Trump, heatedly criticized those moves.
“How can they take away our right to freedom of expression … how can they take away the people’s right to information?” López Obrador said, vowing to “go to court if there is a ban, because it would be an act of censorship, an offense, an attack on freedom.”