On 9 July, the Mexican Congress approved the secondary laws contained within the telecommunications reform. Some of the main points of these laws are to allow firms to be declared preponderant by sector rather than by given services, thus ensuring the predominance of the TV duopoly (Televisa and TV Azteca) in the telecommunications market, and that providers are required to retain histories of the communications engaged in by users so that these can be consulted for security reasons. Furthermore, other controversial points included the possibility that authorities could plant a listening device whenever and wherever they choose in the supposed investigation of a crime or for “security reasons”; also, the State would be allowed the right to block telecommunications traffic in a predetermined geographical area.
The corresponding legal process was marked by numerous irregularities, beginning with the participation of legislators who have labor, capital, or family ties with media corporations (“telebancada”) who had to excuse themselves from the congressional debates due to a possible conflict of interests. The PRD Secretary General said that “this is not a PRD vote,” making reference to the three PRD senators from Chiapas, Oaxaca, and Morelos who voted in favor of the bill; these elements belong to the New Left current and are better known as the “Chuchos,” a group led by Jesús Ortega Martínez that counts as its member the national president of political power, Jesús Zambrano Grijalva. This law, in accordance with those who oppose it, is qualified as a “Televisa-Peña Law” and a “gift” to the television corporations to thank them for their support during the presidential campaign, as the PAN Senator Javier Corral Jurado argued. “It is a true disgrace; those who have voted for this article are giving money to Enrique Peña Nieto to allow him to pay back past campaign favors, or even to finance future ones (2015 and 2018),” noted Jurado, who is secretary of the Commission on Radio, Television, and Film.
In other news, due to the limitations imposed on communal and indigenous radios in the new law, the International Agency for Indigenous Press (AIPIN) has been studying the possibility of requesting a juridical motion to arrest the approval of this law, considering it to amount to violations of the rights of indigenous peoples to engage in communication. Besides, the law has not been consulted with indigenous communities, as is required by the Constitution and Convention 169 of the International Labor Organization (ILO).
For more information (in Spanish):
Telecomunicaciones: legislativo claudicante (La Jornada, 4 de julio de 2014)
Frente por la Comunicación Democrática Capítulo Oaxaca Pronunciamiento ante la Ley Telecom (Educa, 2 de julio de 2014)
La Ley de Telecomunicaciones debe proteger plenamente los derechos humanos: AI (Amnistía Internacional, 3 de julio de 2014)
Ley telecom hará de Televisa un poder ingobernable (Revolución Tres Punto Cero, 7 de julio de 2014)
¿Por qué es tan polémica la Reforma Telecom? (Animal Político)
Reforma Telecom: PRI aprueba la geolocalización, bloqueo de señal y retención de datos (Regeneración, 9 de julio de 2014)