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As accomplished radio journalist is taken off the air, CENCOS laments corporate media's limiting of free expression

(CENCOS/IFEX) - The following is a 4 January 2008 CENCOS press release:

Media group drops radio journalist due to "editorial incompatibility"

Mexico City, 4 January 2008 - Journalist Carmen Aristegui has broadcast the last edition of her five-year-old programme "Hoy por Hoy" on W Radio. She was informed by the station's management on 3 January 2008 that her contract would not be renewed because "the journalist's editorial framework is incompatible with the editorial framework of the company."

With the termination of Aristegui's programme, a critical voice committed to human rights has been taken off the air. Freedom of expression, a prerequisite for democracy, has received another blow with this removal of one who spoke for sectors of society that lack access to the media, due to the high costs imposed by private media corporations.

The owners of the radio station, Televisa and Grupo Editorial Prisa, were not swayed from their decision by the fact that, in 2007, Aristegui won two prestigious awards - one Mexican and another Spanish - for her journalism.

The incident highlights how freedom of expression in Mexico is contingent, in part, upon the business models of corporate media. The imperatives of business restrict this fundamental human right in Mexico.

The type of free expression championed by corporate media appears incompatible with the free expression exercised by critical journalists and by sectors of civil society that do not share their interests. The turning off of Aristegui's microphone is a strike at free expression; one that silences the voice of a true professional and a public opinion leader.

CENCOS is dismayed that a private media outlet should silence such an accomplished journalist. The parameters of free expression should not be decided by private corporations; when the government grants broadcasting licences to private media outlets, those outlets should be obliged to uphold free expression for all.

Private media outlets must not restrict the space available for free expression. Without media pluralism and space for the voicing of diverse opinions, democracy itself is imperiled.

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