Culture vs News at Mexico's highbrow Canal 22
July 1, 2015
A debate over free speech is brewing behind the scenes at Mexico's government run Canal 22 television station. The station, operated by the federal Cultural Secretariat, normally features high-brow films, concerts, and documentaries about art and culture in Mexico, as well as a newsmagazine. (I miss it's meaty fare out here in the frothy Atlantic Ocean.) A group of 12 reporters, producers and other employees at the station say that recent attempts to put politics and culture on the programming agenda have been stifled by the channel's director. According to a press release from the group, Raul Cremoux recently nixed the airing of a reports on censorship at another television station, on post-traumatic stress suffered by victims of violence and their families in Mexico; another from indigenous communities and a special live report during this month's elections.
"I'm not a censor of anyone," said Cremoux. "This is a cultural institution, not an institution where you can just talk about any issue that comes to your mind."
As always, money lurks in the background to this story, with some of the aggrieved producers telling the press they haven't received a raise in 22 years.
Cremoux has used station air time to make his views public. (Which you can see here, in Spanish.) The group has demanded their "legal right to reply" in a live debate with the director, but have so far been rebuffed.