Mexico

Marcela Turati: Expose the Hidden Interests of Big Media Companies

Interview with award-winning investigative journalist Marcela Turati, Marcela Turati is an investigative journalist who specializes in covering the impact of Mexican drug war on society.
 
Marcela Turati also has experience in human rights activism, and she reports on poverty and marginalized groups. She has been vocal against the murders and exile of journalists in Mexico. Ms Turati works for Proceso, a leading news weekly in Mexico. She co-founded Periodistas de a Pie (Journalists on Foot), an outfit dedicated to training journalists to improve the quality of their journalism and to defend freedom of expression.
 

Latin American News Media: Who Is Big on Facebook?

Today, we released the Facebook Index Latin America, which ranks news media platforms from Latin America based on the number of Facebook followers compared to the size of their market.
 

Central America, Still Lagging Behind

In spite of high inequality and rampant poverty, which further contributed to the widening digital divide in Latin America, the internet has experienced accelerated growth. Some 55% of the inhabitants of Latin America used internet in 2015, according to the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), a UN agency.
 

Who Can Reinvent Public Media in the Global South?

An upcoming study on public media in the Global South calls for major reforms to help reinvent public service media.
 
Back in 2007, responding to people’s growing dissatisfaction with the commercial news media in Taiwan, PTS, the country’s public television service launched PeoPo, a portal that was designed to host video reports made by citizens. Part of the project was also a training program that was intended to teach citizens how to create such reports.
 
The project was a sensation.
 
The number of video-making citizens exceeded 3,400 by 2009 and was close to 7,400 in 2013, according to a RIPE report. Half of those who enrolled in this program are youths aged between 21 and 30. PeoPo concluded collaboration agreements with over 200 NGOs and 15 college news centers to hold training sessions. It cost PST a frugal US$200,000 a year to fund this project.
 
All in all, this is truly an example of the development of public service media at its finest.
 
However, unfortunately this is a comparatively rare example of success in such development so far. In fact, the state of public media in the Global South (defined as Africa, Latin America and developing Asia, including Middle East) is far from rosy. Most are struggling with a spate of structural problems coupled with political pressures.
 

Latin American Digital Media Are Not so Digital

Latin America has seen unprecedented growth of digital journalistic enterprises in the past five years. But serious questions about their viability have arisen as many of them only sloppily engage with audiences.
 
When Daniel Eilemberg, 30 at the time, launched Pajaro Politico (Political Bird) back in 2009, a Twitter account curating content from international news groups and breaking its own news, nobody would have guessed that it would eventually become a political news and aggregation site with more online readers than well-funded sites of established media groups in Mexico. 
 
It did. Animal Politico site, geared on publishing political news, was born in a year. Today, it boasts over one million likes on Facebook and some 1.1 million Twitter followers. The site’s readership exceeds four million unique visitors. Animal Politico is not alone in Latin America’s booming internet news market. Since 2010, the region has seen staggering growth in new digital journalism initiatives.
 

Millennials Are Shaping the Future Latin American Media

Millennials, as today’s youth are known, are the dominant audience of Latin America. They increasingly consume media on mobile devices. These two trends are telling for where Latin American media will be in a decade or so.
 
Latin America accounts for 10% of all internet users worldwide, which is more or less what the region represents in terms of global population as 8.6% of the globe’s inhabitants are located there, according to the latest report from Comscore. However, this proportion varies significantly. Europe, where over 10% of the globe’s population is located, accounts for some 27% of the total online population worldwide. In contrast, Asia, where some two-thirds of all the people in the world live, is home to only 40% of all internet users today. Comscore’s study brings together Africa and the Middle East in a single region that hosts 9% of all internet users.
 
The obvious conclusion is that although it seems that today everything is literally online, people, relationships, trade, politics, you name it, the reality is different. The digital divide, which is a hot topic in Latin America, is also significant in the global context.
 

Right of Reply Law in Mexico: Against Citizens, in Favor of Media Moguls

A new law on the right of reply was adopted last month in Mexico after it had hibernated for eight years in the Congress. But hopes that this act would empower citizens were shattered as the “reply process” put forward by this law is likely to be lengthy, legally convoluted and fully under the control of powerful media corporations.

The procedure for exercising the right of reply in the approved law was shaped by the dominant television groups that have consistently lobbied for retaining the power to decide whether or not to rectify facts disseminated in their shows, newscasts or other programs. They won this game and retained their power. This is why many experts and journalists say that the right of reply law favors the interests of mighty media groups (many of them close to political groups) instead of those of the citizens.

So, what does it take for an ordinary Mexican to reply to what they find false or offensive in the media? The answer is a large quantity of both time and, invariably, headaches.