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"Forum" magazine faces withdrawal of government advertising in reprisal for its critical stance

(CEPET/IFEX) - According to Eduardo Ibarra Aguirre, director of "Forum" magazine, President Felipe Calderón Hinojosa's government has ordered the publication be denied government advertising contracts in retaliation for its critical stance.

In a July 2008 editorial, Ibarra Aguirre said that members of the presidential press team have instructed all government agencies to not place announcements in "Forum".

"I first received indication on 26 May that 'Forum', which will soon be celebrating its 17th anniversary, was being boycotted by employees of the President's Office's press committee and the Interior Ministry", the editorial stated.

In his editorial, Ibarra Aguirre includes part of an exchange between an unidentified government employee and Eduardo Enrique Camacho Hernández, "Forum"'s publicist:

"Skinny guy. It looks like you're being frozen out. I don't know if (the order) came from the Interior Ministry or the president's office.

The surprised publicist responded: "How? Why? By whom?"

"Forgive me, I can't do anything. Tell your boss I deeply respect and admire him", the government employee replied.

According to Ibarra Aguirre, other federal government employees responded in a similar fashion, leading "Forum" to believe that the magazine is being targeted in a concerted campaign aimed at lowering its revenues. Presumably this is in response to the magazine's criticism of Calderón Hinojosa's administration.

The editorial in the most recent issue of the magazine complains that the President's Office and the Office of the Interior Ministry have to approve of the placement of all government announcements in media outlets.

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