Investigative reporter Carmen Aristegui fired from MVS Radio in Mexico –
Carmen Aristegui, one of Mexico’s leading investigative reporters and Forbes Mexico’s awarded second most powerful woman, was fired from MVS Radio on March 15.
Aristegui hosted a highly popular weekday radio program for the station and according to ratings is in the top five most-listened-to talk shows in Mexico City. Aristegui has also made international headlines exposing government corruption.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Aristegui was dismissed after she demanded that the station rehire two journalists who worked on her investigative reporting team. The company fired reporters, Daniel Lizarraga and Irving Huerta the previous week for “the unauthorized use of its name in an outside journalistic endeavor.”
The two journalists were known for their contribution to a website dedicated to exposing corruption in Mexico known as “Mexicoleaks”. MVS Radio fired the two journalists and claimed that Aristegui’s team used their name without permission when starting the site with other Mexican media outlets and civil groups.
On Aristegui’ final appearance on MVS Radio she told listeners “the journalists should be awarded, not punished with firing.”
She continued that this was “not the time for Mexican society, which has taken time to open space for freedom of expression, public debate, social presence, awareness [and] fundamental rights to move backward”.
However, MVS Radio called Aristegui’s plea to reinstate her co-workers an “ultimatum” and refused to accept her demand, naming this the reason to letting her go.
Members from other Mexican press organizations question the reason for Aristegui’s termination.
“It’s so obvious that this has nothing to do with Mexicoleaks,” said an editor in Mexico City that wished to go unnamed. “It’s only a pretext to screw over Carmen Aristegui.”
Denise Dresser, a political science professor at Autonomous Technological Institute of Mexico, was interviewed by SPJ and believes that the issue is that the media is not independent.
“[Media] are so dependent on government renewal of concessions on government licenses on a whole set of regulations” Dresser said, “so if you attract the displeasure of the administration, the sanctions can be very severe…Carmen is a thorn in the side of the government,” which could have led to her being fired.
Aristegui’s fans took to social media sites outraged at her dismissal. The hashtags #EnDefensadeAristegui and #EnDefendsadeAristegui2 were trending on Twitter.
Hundreds of protestors also gathered outside of MVS Radio headquarters to show their support for Aristegui.
Aristegui’s dismissal points to a greater issue in Mexico and that is the freedom of expression by those in the media. Although Mexico has made strides when it comes to freedom of the press, the government still plays an enormous role in what the media releases and withholds.
“Carmen Aristegui is an indispensible voice in our public life,” historian Enrique Krause said on his Twitter account. “Her departure from MVS seriously threatens the freedom of expression in Mexico.”