It is almost definitive: the federal public media have not been relevant or important for the government of the Fourth Transformation.
The Federation Expenditure Budget Project 2023 (the penultimate of the López Obrador administration) contemplates a slight increase for the federal public media, but only to respond to the situation and not to a real interest in providing them with more resources to improve their difficult situation.
Public media were the only option that balanced the overwhelming offer of commercial media in terms of freedom of expression, plural, diverse, cultural and educational content.
This important function of balance and counterweight has not been sufficiently achieved or developed by federal, state, university, judicial or legislative public media. They have even been quickly surpassed by streaming platforms and short video social networks that have much more plurality and diversity than any public or commercial media.
The tenth transitional article of the constitutional reform on telecommunications warns that all public media that provide the broadcasting service must have editorial independence, financial management autonomy, guarantees of citizen participation, clear rules for transparency and accountability, defense of its contents, financing options, full access to technologies and rules for the expression of ideological, ethnic and cultural diversities.
As for editorial independence, the most important value, some public media have gone from the ruling party characteristic of the PAN and PRI administrations to an open propagandist posture, where they decisively defend and support a good number of initiatives and policies of the AMLO government, of the Fourth Transformation and the Morena party. These are the cases of the Public Broadcasting System of the Mexican State (SPREM), Canal Once and Notimex before the strike.
The public media budget project is not even enough to finish the year and pay the payroll, much less to implement infrastructure projects, technological modernization or production of relevant audiovisual content, which would allow them to be a counterweight and balance to the commercial offer of content and information.
The directors of the public media frequently request and visit the Ministry of Finance to request budget increases, especially from the second half of the year, because their initial budget is never enough even to meet current spending.
It is not the sectoral authorities such as the Ministry of Culture or Public Education that act as heads of the sector, not even the Coordination of Social Communication of the Presidency of the Republic: the true patron of the federal public media is the Ministry of Finance.
Through the treasury authority, the true control mechanism is exercised over the public media in the 4T government, dependent on the authorization and granting of budget increases that allow them to meet their operational, salary and payment commitments to basic providers. for their subsistence.
Without budgetary self-sufficiency for public media, there is no true editorial independence (because there will always be caution in the information treatment); much less autonomy of financial management, because the budget is limited to personal services and operating expenses; neither full access to technologies, because it is not enough to invest in them; nor defense of its contents, because the most expensive thing to produce in the media is relevant content.
The Public Broadcasting System of the Mexican State (SPREM), chaired by Jenaro Villamil, will receive a budget of 825.2 million pesos in 2023, a reduction of 33.92% compared to the amount of 2022 (1,248.9 million pesos).
SPREM has been the most favored public medium during Q4. Its budget increases have been labeled for the installation of infrastructure and the expansion of coverage, because its law requires it to seek the widest audience and the maximum geographic and social coverage.
SPREM’s strategy consists of sharing infrastructure to expand the coverage of coordinated public media such as Canal Once, Canal 22, TV Educativa, TV UNAM and Canal del Congreso, without duplicating spending on investment and work, transmission equipment and technical personnel. . SPREM planned to collect its own income of 200 million pesos in 2021, but only collected 49.9 million pesos.
SPREM operates the [email protected] website to combat fake news. In 15 months, it has denied more than 3,000 false, misleading or altered news or videos, mainly on Covid 19, vaccines, political issues, security and medicines, except for the false or misleading data that the president constantly communicates. AMLO at the morning press conference.
Metropolitan Television (Channel 22), sectorized to the Ministry of Culture, will improve its budget by 4.57% to 141.7 million pesos, not even to respond to inflation of 8 percent.
The television station directed by the filmmaker Arming Houses it again exceeded its expectations for business income. In the Self-Assessment Report 2022 projected revenues of 30 million pesos and reached 33.5 million pesos, although less than the 37.4 million pesos in 2020. Channel 22 increased its audiences in 2021 to 63.4 million people, a considerable increase compared to 2020 (40.5 million people).
Channel 22 appears in the Digital News Report of the Reuters Institute and Oxford University as one of the public media with the greatest weekly reach, with 9 percent.
Canal Once of the National Polytechnic Institute, directed by Carlos Brito Lavalle, will improve its budget just 5.13% to 602 million pesos. Canal Once is the public television station with the greatest coverage and reach. In June 2022 its reach was 86.7 million and Canal Once was seen by 28.9 million people.
The Mexican Institute of Radio (Imer), directed by Aleida Calleja, will receive 271.4 million pesos. However, it is a misleading budget because it includes tax contributions that are only 209.9 million pesos for current spending and the rest for self-generated income.
The Mexican State News Agency (Notimex) has a budget of 237.6 million pesos, despite the fact that the agency directed by sanjuana martinez has been on strike since February 21, 2020. Notimex is the best example of the 4T’s lack of interest in public media. Neither Notimex nor does the Single Union of Notimex Workers (SutNotimex) have public information on the National Transparency Platform.
Finally, Radio Educación (directed by Jesus Alejo Santiagoreplacing Gabriel Sosa Silver) has a budget of 82.4 million pesos for 2023. The links to the annual reports and statistics in the transparency obligations for 2020 to 2022 of Radio Educación are broken or do not contain information.