Indicators of Risks to Media Pluralism

Media Audience Concentration

This indicator assesses the concentration of audience and readership across media platforms based on audience share. Concentration is measured by using the Top 4 owners in the market. 

Result: 

HIGH RISK 

Why?

One of the main obstacles for the project was finding reliable information about the Mexican media audience. Market research agencies do only include those media outlets and enterprises who hired them – thus audience data is not comprehensive. Even more importantly, these research companies deliver their findings only to their clients not to the public.  This alone is to be considered as a high risk – as the lack of audience data creates a nontransparent market in which credibility of and trust in media lowers.

In the TV sector for example, Nielsen Ibope is the audience research company whose main client is Televisa, whereas HR Media is the research company for TV Azteca, for the audience data delivered by those research companies is probably contradictory and not complete. The data from the research agency INRA specialized in researching radio audience was problematic as it only included data about the biggest cities in the country and left out radio outlets in rural areas which are also important for public opinion in Mexico. For the online media, ComScore is the main audience measurement company.It has similar flaws as the previously mentioned companies. However, at least some of its measurements get published in the media and are thus publicly available. The most accurate data on printed media audience comes from the National Media Registry (Padrón Nacional de Medios) under the Ministry of Interior. However, this government registry does not present data on the readers’ quota for each media but on the average print run of the publications registered in the General Department for Printed Media. For these reasons, the media outlets analyzed in this project have been selected by matching data published in academic studies and communications media, under the advisory of experts in the field.

Due to the lack of credible and comprehensive audience data, audience concentration according to the MOM methodology can’t be computed. Nevertheless, the qualitative research provides for sufficient data that points out to a high risk in audience concentration

Throughout many years the television industry has been dominated by the duopoly Televisa and TV Azteca. By operating most of the concessions for commercial TV, both companies controlled 90% of the TV audience in 2011. Today, thanks to the 2014 Constitutional reform on telecommunications, there is a new player in the sector – Imagen TV. Owned by the business group Grupo Empresarial Ángeles, it launched three years ago the third television network with national coverage. Besides this additional competition, Televisa and TV Azteca still seize the largest audience share. A proof for this is the fact that their open-TV channels (Las Estrellas of Televisa and Azteca Uno of TV Azteca, both analyzed by MOM) are the two most watched channels by Mexicans, according to the results of the 2016 National Survey for Audiovisual Content Consumption.

As for the radio market, the National Chamber of Radio and Television Industry claims that there are more than 400 groups operating the country – but only a small number own most of the available radio concessions. In 2016, around 20 radio groups, regional networks and independent broadcasters controlled around 75% of the commercial FM and AM frequencies in the country. The resent public tender of the Federal Institute of Telecommunications allowed for the entrance of new players in the radio industry. However, most of the high-value frequencies stayed in the hands of the existing concessionaires. These numbers on infrastructure do not determine the audience share but they give an idea about the power of the dominant groups in this sector, among which Radiorama, Grupo Fórmula, Grupo Radio Centro, Grupo ACIR and Grupo MVS stand out.   

There are few up-to-date investigations about the concentration in the printed press sector, which has supposedly the lowest influence on opinion formation due to the low reading rate among the population. There is also no reliable information about its circulation since the editorials tend to inflate the numbers to boost reputation and, most importantly, to receive more resources for government publicity. According to data gathered by the National Media Registry of the Ministry of Interior, the newspaper circulation in the country reached 6.9 million copies in 2014, whereas at the beginning of the 21st century it was at 8.3 million copies. Considering that the total Mexican population is over 120 million, these numbers are quite low. Although some journals do not have high circulation numbers, the groups that stand behind them are powerful. For example, El Sol de México, one of the media outlets analyzed by MOM, with an average print out of 70,000 examples belongs to Organización Editorial Mexicana (OEM), company that owns more than 70 regional newspapers. Influential in a similar fashion in this sector are also Grupo Reforma and El Universal.   

Finally, neither does the online media industry offer exact numbers on audience. However, by following the number of the visitors of the selected websites it can be evidenced that again the mostly visited websites are the digital versions of the most powerful traditional media. Even so, the Internet is perhaps the sector with the most possibilities for the emergence of alternative media with content diversity and new audiences.

LOW (1)

MEDIUM (2)

HIGH (3)

Audience concentration in television (horizontal)

Percentage: not assessed 

If within one country the major 4 owners (Top 4) have an audience share below 25%. 

If within one country the major 4 owners (Top 4) have an audience share between 25% and 49%. 

If within one country the major 4 owners (Top 4) have an audience share above 50%. 

Audience concentration in radio (horizontal)

Percentage: not assessed 

If within one country the major 4 owners (Top 4) have an audience share below 25%. 

If within one country the major 4 owners (Top 4) have an audience share between 25% and 49%. 

If within one country the major 4 owners (Top 4) have an audience share above 50%. 

Readership concentration in newspapers (horizontal)

Percentage: not assessed

If within one country the major 4 owners (Top 4) have a readership share below 25%. 

If within one country the major 4 owners (Top 4) have a readership share between 25% and 49%. 

If within one country the major 4 owners (Top 4) have a readership share above 50%. 

Audience concentration in Internet (horizontal)

Percentage: not assessed

If within one country the major 4 owners (Top 4) have an audience share below 25%. 

If within one country the major 4 owners (Top 4) have an audience share between 25% and 49%. 

If within one country the major 4 owners (Top 4) have an audience share above 50%. 

 

Sources:

Instituto Federal de Telecomunicaciones (2016). Encuesta Nacional de Consumo de Contenidos Audiovisuales del 2016. 

COFETEL-TelecomCIDE (2011). Estudio sobre el Mercado de Servicios de Televisión Abierta en México. 

Asociación Mexicana de Derecho a la Información (Amedi) y Artículo 19 (2016). Licitación de frecuencias de radio AM y FM debe incrementar la pluralidad. 

Asociación Mexicana de Derecho a la Información (Amedi) (2017). Subasta de radio fue competida pero falta pluralidad y diversidad en el cuadrante. 

Juan Enrique Huerta-Wong y Rodrigo Gómez García – Comunicación y Sociedad (2013). Concentración y diversidad de los medios de comunicación y las telecomunicaciones en México. 

Gabriel Sosa Plata – Panorama de la comunicación en México (2011). Grupos radiofónicos y concentración. 

Martín Becerra y Guillermo Mastrini (2017). La concentración infocomunicacional en América Latina (2000-2015). 

 

 

 

Media Ownership Concentration

This indicator aims to assess the horizontal ownership concentration based on market share which illustrates the economic power of companies/ groups. Concentration is measured for each media sector by adding the market shares of the major owners in the sector. 

Result:

NO DATA 

Why?

This indicator could not be computed as access financial information (total income, operating profit, investment in publicity and market share) of the analyzed companies was not available. There is only data for the companies listed on stock exchange markets.

LOW (1)

MEDIUM (2)

HIGH (3)

Ownership concentration in television (horizontal): this indicator aims to assess the concentration of ownership within the TV media sector. 

Percentage: not assessed

If within one country the major 4 owners (Top 4) have a market share below 25%. 

If within one country the major 4 owners (Top 4) have a market share between 25% and 49%. 

If within one country the major 4 owners (Top 4) have a market share above 50%. 

Ownership concentration in radio (horizontal): this indicator aims to assess the concentration of ownership within the radio media sector.

Percentage: not assessed

If within one country the major 4 owners (Top 4) have a market share below 25%. 

If within one country the major 4 owners (Top 4) have a market share between 25% and 49%. 

If within one country the major 4 owners (Top 4) have a market share above 50%. 

Ownership concentration in newspapers (horizontal): this indicator aims to assess the concentration of ownership within the print sector.

Percentage: not assessed

If within one country the major 4 owners (Top 4) have a market share below 25%. 

If within one country the major 4 owners (Top 4) have a market share between 25% and 49%. 

If within one country the major 4 owners (Top 4) have a market share above 50%. 

Ownership concentration in internet content providers:

Percentage: not assessed

If within one country the major 4 owners (Top 4) have a market share below 25%. 

If within one country the major 4 owners (Top 4) have a market share between 25% and 49%. 

If within one country the major 4 owners (Top 4) have a market share above 50%. 

Regulatory Safeguards: Media Ownership Concentration

This indicator assesses the existence and effective implementation of regulatory safeguards (sector-specific and/or competition law) against a high horizontal concentration ownership and/or control in the different media.

Result: 

HIGH RISK 

Total: 9,5 out of 20 = 47,5% (It is considered a high risk when the overall score is under 50%).

Why?

The existing legal framework is very loose with the measures against media ownership concentration in the telecommunication and broadcasting sectors. The regulatory authority, The Federal Institute of Telecommunications (FIT), has not been effective so far.

There is no definition in the law about horizontal media concentration, only a definition of agents with substantial power in any of the markets in the broadcasting and telecommunication sectors, without considering the specific activity of the media outlet.

The Federal Institute of Telecommunications (FIT) can impose certain obligations and limitations for the economic agents with substantial power, according to the market to which they belong or the service they offer. Some of these measures include obligations related to information, quality, fees, commercial offers and billing. The Institute can also apply other sanctions listed in the Federal Law for Economic Competition, which establishes the guidelines for the concentrations, mergers, substantial power in the market, anticompetitive behavior and absolute and relative monopolistic practices. Likewise, the FIT can apply measures destined for the dominant economic agent (Agente Económico Preponderante) in the telecommunication and broadcasting sectors.

Until now, the FIT has not effectuated specific actions to determine who has the substantial market power among the communication media outlets, except in the case of the pay television sector. In two occasions, the FIT established that Grupo Televisa would not have substantial market power which would allow abusing its power position, even though the Institute’s investigation unit found evidence that Televisa was in the position to impede competition. One legal claim (amparo) filed by one branch of TV Azteca against this decision of the Institute resulted in January 2017 with a court sentence which obliged the Institute to review once more the market power of Grupo Televisa.

One month later, the FIT determined that Televisa had in fact exercised substantial power in the pay television sector. However, since then, one year went by, and the FIT did not issue any measure on asymmetrical regulation whatsoever. Meanwhile Televisa filed a legal claim (amparo) against this decision of the Institute. As a consequence, in February 2017, the Supreme Court of Justice canceled this decision on substantial power and ordered the Institute to go through the process again and issue a new decision. According to experts in the field, the Court’s arguments affect the real possibility for regulating the substantial power of this company in the media market. 

Table summarizes TV/ radio/print/online – 

Max. score: 4 per sector.

Description

Yes

No

NA

MD

Does the media legislation contain specific thresholds or limits, based on objective criteria (e.g. number of licenses, audience share, circulation, distribution of share capital or voting rights, turnover/revenue) to prevent a high level of horizontal concentration of ownership and/or control in this sector?

This question aims to assess the existence of regulatory safeguards (sector-specific) against a high horizontal concentration of ownership and/or control in the different media sector.

(TV/

Radio)

(Print/

Online)

 

 

Is there an administrative authority or judicial body actively monitoring compliance with the thresholds in the print sector and/or hearing complaints? (e.g. media and/or competition authority)?

This variable aims to assess if the law/regulation provides a due monitoring and sanctioning system for the regulation on audiovisual media concentration.

(TV/

Radio)

(Print/

Online)

 

 

Does the law grant this body sanctioning/enforcement powers in order to impose proportionate remedies (behavioral and/or structural) in case of non-respect of the thresholds?

The variable aims at assessing if the law is providing a due system of sanctions to sector-specific regulation, such as: 

  • Refusal of additional licenses;
  • Blocking of a merger or acquisition; 
  • Obligation to allocate windows for third party programming; 
  • Obligation to give up licenses/activities in other media sectors. 
  • Divestiture.

 

(TV/

Radio)

(Print/

Online)

 

 

Are these sanctioning/enforcement powers effectively used?

This indicator aims to assess the effective implementation of sector-specific remedies against a high horizontal concentration of ownership and/or control in the television media.

Medium risk (0,5): the authority’s powers are not always used in all the relevant cases.  

 

 

Total 

6,5 out of 16

Media Mergers 

Description

Yes

No

NA

MD

Can a high level of horizontal concentration of ownership and/or control in the media sector be prevented via merger control/competition rules that take into account the specificities of the media sector?

This question aims to assess the existence of regulatory safeguards (sector specific and/ or competition law) against a high horizontal concentration of ownership and/or control in the media sector through merging operations. For instance, the law should prevent concentration in merging operations: 

-By containing media-specific provisions that impose stricter thresholds than in other sectors;

 -The mandatory intervention of a media authority in merger and acquisition cases (for instance, the obligation for the competition authority to ask the advice of the media authority);

 - The possibility to overrule the approval of a concentration by the communication authority for reasons of media pluralism (or public interest in general)); -that - even though they do not contain media-specific provisions - do not exclude the media sector from their scope of application.

1

 

 

 

Is there an administrative authority or judicial body actively monitoring compliance with rules on mergers and/or hearing complaints? (e.g. media and/or competition authority)?

This variable aims to assess if the law/regulation provides a due monitoring and sanctioning system.

1

 

 

 

Does the law grant this body sanctioning/enforcement powers in order to impose proportionate remedies (behavioral and/or structural) in case of non-respect of the thresholds?

The variable aims at assessing if the law is providing a due system of sanctions to sector-specific regulation, such as: 

  • Blocking of a merger or acquisition; 
  • Obligation to allocate windows for third party programming; 
  • Obligation to give up licenses/activities in other media sectors.
  • Divestiture 
 

1

 

 

 

Are these sanctioning/enforcement powers effectively used?

This indicator aims to assess the effective implementation of sector-specific remedies against a high horizontal concentration of ownership and/or control in the television media.

High risk (0): the relevant authority never uses its sanctioning powers. 

 

 

Total 

3 out of 4 

 

Sources:

Clara Luz Álvarez (2018). Televisa salvada, IFT condenado. 

Irene Levy (2018). RIP a la dominancia en TV de paga. 

Cross-media Ownership Concentration

This indicator aims to assess the concentration of ownership across the different sectors –TV, print, audio, and any other relevant media– of the media industry. Cross-media concentration is measured by adding up the market shares of the Top media companies.

Result: 

HIGH RISK

Why?

As neither audience nor market data is available to calculate the cross-ownership concentration of the media, a high risk is being determined. The lack of audience data creates a nontransparent market which leads to decreasing credibility of and trust in media outputs.

Qualitative information obtained in the analysis of the 42 selected media outlets provides for the identification of some business groups that own media in different sectors and thus have an assumed influence on public opinion.

Televisa is the leading group in the open television sector, where its channels have more than 75% of the audience; and also in the pay television sector in which it controls around 60% of the market mainly through the satellite TV system Sky. This information comes from several academic studies on media concentration, as access to official data from market research agencies was not available. In the radio sector, Televisa owns around 260 stations all over the country. When it comes to printed press, it has several magazines distributed in more than 20 countries of the continent, which mostly have their digital version, too. Until now, the Federal Institute of Telecommunications (FIT) has failed to determine and issue any measures on the presumed substantial market power exercised by Televisa in the pay television sector.

Among the analyzed companies, also Grupo Multimedios stands out. This business group is present in all the sectors: Milenio Diario in printed and online press; Milenio Televisión and Canal 12 in the television sector; and 37 radio stations, including AW Radio (XHAW) from Monterrey, State of Nuevo León.

Another important actor is the business group Grupo Empresarial Ángeles and its media conglomerate Grupo Imagen through which it operates in the printed and online media sector (the journal Excélsior in its printed and digital version), the radio sector (stations such as Imagen Radio 90.5 XEDA-FM) and the television sector (Imagen TV, the third open television channel with national coverage).

Sources:

Martín Becerra y Guillermo Mastrini (2017). La concentración infocomunicacional en América Latina (2000-2015). 

Regulatory Safeguards: Cross-media Ownership Concentration

This indicator aims to assess the existence and effective implementation of regulatory safeguards (sector-specific and/or competition law) against a high degree of cross-ownership between media types (press, TV, radio, internet). 

 Result: 

HIGH RISK

Total: 1 out of 8 = 12,5% (It is considered a high risk when the overall score is under 50%).

Why? 

A high risk is being determined as no regulatory safeguards put limits to cross-ownership. This prevents the Federal Institute of Telecommunications (FIT) to conduct case studies and to be able to implement the adequate measures provided for in the Constitution.

In the case of the broadcasting and telecommunication concessionaires that limit the access to diverse content in one same market or in one geographical scope, the Institute can tell pay TV operators to integrate channels from other independent national concessionaries. The Institute theoretically also puts limits to the national or regional concentration of frequencies by considering restrictions to the access to plurality of content; barriers for the entrance of new agents; existence and relevance of other information media; access to essential inputs that allows them to offer similar or equivalent services; and the behavior for the last two years of the economic agents in the media market. If the imposed measures result inefficient, the regulatory authority, which is the Institute, can order withdrawal of assets, rights or shares.

Despite these theoretical powers, the Institute has so far not yet determined criteria to measure content plurality or the level of effective competition. This complicates executing the established legal framework. It is also unknown whether the Institute has monitored conditions of the different types of ownership concentration (horizontal, vertical or cross-ownership). So far, it has only defined the so called dominant economic agents (Agentes Económicos Preponderantes) in the broadcasting and telecommunication sectors. 

Until now, the measures against the dominant economic agents such as Grupo Televisa have largely not been effective. Only the must offer, where Televisa had to offer for free its open television signal for the operators of pay television, can be considered as an accomplishment. The has not established more specific criteria to provide for more competition, but has on the contrary loosened up some measures: such as the specific prohibition for Televisa to purchase exclusive rights for relevant audiovisual content under the scheme of sublicensing, which means Televisa can still buy them and then sell them to its competitors.

In this situation where specific actions to controlling cross-ownership are lacking, the OECD recommended only last year that the Federal Institute of Telecommunications should improve its expertise in plurality of audiovisual content. This would allow implementing regulations that contemplate ownership diversity as well as redefining the role of the public broadcasting service.

Cross-Media Ownership

Description

Yes

No

NA

MD

Does the media legislation contain specific thresholds, based on objective criteria, such as number of licenses, audience share, circulation, distribution of share capital or voting rights, turnover/revenue, to prevent a high degree of cross-ownership between the different media?

This indicator aims to assess the existence of regulatory safeguards (sector-specific and/or competition law) against a high degree of cross-ownership in different media sectors.

 

X

 

 

Is there an administrative authority or judicial body actively monitoring compliance with these thresholds and/or hearing complaints? (e.g. media authority=1, competition authority=0,5))

This variable aims to assess if the law/regulation provides a due monitoring and sanctioning system for the regulation on audiovisual media concentration.

 

X

 

 

Does the law grant body sanctioning/enforcement powers in order to impose proportionate remedies (behavioral and/or structural) in case of non-respect of the thresholds?

The variable aims at assessing if the law is providing a due system of sanctions to sector-specific regulation, such as: 

  • Refusal of additional licenses;
  • Blocking of a merger or acquisition; 
  • Obligation to allocate windows for third party programming; 
  • Obligation to give up licenses/activities in other media sectors 
  • Divestiture.
 

1

 

 

 

Are these sanctioning/enforcement powers effectively used?

The question aims at assessing the effectiveness of the remedies provided by the regulation.

High risk (0): the relevant authority never uses its sanctioning powers.

 

 

Can a high degree of cross-ownership between different media be prevented via merger control/competition rules that take into account the specificities of the media sector?

For instance, cross-ownership can be prevented by comptetion law: 

-by the mandatory intervention of a media authority in M&A cases (for instance, the obligation for the competition authority to ask the advice of the media authority);

 -by the possibility to overrule the approval of a concentration by the competition authority for reasons of media pluralism (or Public interest in general);

 Even though the law does not contain media-specific provisions - it does not exclude the media sector from its scope of application

 

X

 

 

Is there an administrative authority or judicial body actively monitoring compliance with these rules and/or hearing complaints? (e.g. media and/or competition authority)

This variable aims to assess if the law/regulation provides a due monitoring and sanctioning system for the regulation against a high degree of cross-ownership in different media sectors via merger control/competition rules

 

X

 

 

Does the law grant body sanctioning/enforcement powers in order to impose proportionate remedies (behavioral and/or structural) in case of non-respect of the thresholds?

Examples sanctioning/enforcement powers and remedies: 

-blocking of a merger or acquisition;

-obligation to allocate windows for third party programming; 

-must carry obligation to give up licenses/activities in other media sectors;

-divestiture.

 

X

 

 

Are these sanctioning/enforcement powers effectively used?

The question aims at assessing the effectiveness of the remedies of the regulation.

High risk (0): the relevant authority never uses its sanctioning powers.

 

 

Total 

1 out of 8

Ownership Transparency

Two levels of transparency prevail among the 42 analyzed media outlets as according to the MOM methodology: active transparency, when the media inform proactively about their owners, and data publicly available, when the ownership data are easily accessible through other external sources, such as public registries.

In Mexico the companies are not obliged to make public the information about their structure or reveal the name of their owners and the percentage of their participation in the company. The companies in the broadcasting sector are the ones that are legally obliged to present this information with the Federal Institute of Telecommunications as their regulatory authority. However, even in this case, the data is dispersed and presented in a complex manner, which hinders the access to sufficient information that will help identify the ownership structure of the media.

Even when the companies are not obliged to inform about their property, 20 out of the 42 analyzed media outlets (47.6%) offer on their web pages information about their owners or the families to which they belong. This defines them as belonging to the category of active transparency. Out of these 20, nine belong to four of the analyzed companies: Grupo Radio Centro, Grupo Televisa, Grupo Salinas and América Móvil. These companies are also listed on the stock exchange market, which means they are legally obliged to publish information about their operations. The other 11 media outlets that offer information about their owners, do so very superficially without a detailed description of their shareholder structure. 

On the other hand, there are 22 media outlets (52.4%) that do not publish information about their owners on their web pages. However, this information is accessible thanks to press releases and some public registries. The latter is especially the case in the broadcasting sector, although in practice it is difficult to disaggregate this data. For these reasons, it was decided to assign these media to the transparency level data publicly available

The 42 analyzed media were sent a questionnaire for complementing the missing information but none of them responded. Considering that the research team of MOM was able to find information on the media ownership in most of the cases, the lack of transparency and accessibility of data of the regulatory authorities, as well as the indifference of the media, provide sufficient elements for assigning a medium risk to this indicator.

Depending on the accessibility of the information about the ownership, the researched media outlets were categorized in the following levels of transparency:

LOW (1)

MEDIUM (2)

HIGH (3)

How would you assess the transparency and accessibility of data about the media ownership?

Active Transparency – 47,6%

Passive Transparency – 0%

Data Publicly Available – 52,4%

Data Unavailable – %

Active Disguise – 0%

Data on media owners as well as their political affiliations is publicly available and transparent.

(Active Transparency)

Code if that applies to >75 % of the sample.

Data of media owners and their political affiliations are disclosed based on investigations of journalists and media activists or upon request.

(Passive Transparency, Data Publicity Available)

Code if that applies to >50% of the sample.

Data on political affiliation of media owners are not easily accessible by the public and investigative journalists or activists are not successful in disclosing these data. 

(Data Unavailable, Active Disguise)

Code if data is available for < 50% of the sample.

Regulatory Safeguards: Ownership Transparency

This indicator aims to assess the existence and effective implementation of transparency and disclosure provisions with regard to media ownership and/or control.

Result: 

HIGH RISK

Total: 6 out of 20 = 30% (It is considered a high risk when the overall score is under 50%).

Why?

There is little structured and accessible information on ownership and control of the communication media. The Federal Law on Telecommunications and Broadcasting established the Public Registry of Telecommunications, made of the Public Registry of Concessions - which will manage the frequencies and the ownership of the media - and the National Information System for Infrastructure. The Federal Institute of Telecommunications is supposed to regularly update the system with the following information: 

  • Concession titles with their respective authorizations, as well as their modifications or terminations. 
  • Offers given on a public tender by the concessionaires declared as economic agents with substantial power or dominant economic agents in the telecommunications and broadcasting sectors. Also, the Institute should publish the fees for the telecommunication services, as well as the shareholder structure of the concessionaires.
  • The measures, sanctions and specific obligations imposed to the concessionaires declared as economic agents with substantial power or dominant economic agents, including the results of the Institute’s supervision. 

In theory, the concessionaires should provide the Institute in written and electronic form with all the necessary data, reports and documents for the Public Registry of Telecommunications. In practice, however, the dispersed information complicates identifying economically powerful groups and hence the levels of ownership concentration.  

Besides that, this Registry does not include the investments and the sources of income of the concessionaires, neither does it include the main actors in the media and their functions. Details about the shareholders and the size of their property are missing, the real beneficiaries, and interests in other economic sectors, people that influence the editorial policy, politicians or other affiliations of the owners and their families, income from government publicity and from external funds. According to the law, every concessionary which is a legal entity, must deliver to the Institute by the 30th of June each year its shareholder structure with the percentage of participation of each shareholder, so theoretically the Institute should know this information. 

An OECD report also criticizes the Federal Institute of Telecommunications for not publishing the conditions imposed to the parties that want to merge. Normally, the quarterly reports of the Institute offer a lot of information about the relation between the levels of media concentration and the price indices for the telecommunication services. However, the absence of information is obvious in the broadcasting sector. The official data for the consumption of the broadcasting services, publicity and investment in production are limited or nonexistent. There are no available indicators to supervise the increase of the audience in the radio and free TV markets in Mexico, as it can be confirmed from the results of MOM Mexico. 

In this direction, the OECD recommends improvement in the collection and analysis of statistical data related to the broadcasting sector, as well as creation of tools, criteria and actions to measure the audience in the commercial television sector but also non-commercial television (such as public, community or indigenous peoples broadcasters). It also recommends a system for audience classification independent from the commercial TV concessionaires. 

As long as the information is not publicly available it will be difficult to monitor the concentration degree, as well as impose regulatory measures that will impede the big companies to abuse their position in different sectors of the media market.

Transparency Provisions (Summarized for TV, radio, press, online – max. score 5 per sector)

Description

Yes

No

NA

MD

Does national (media, company, tax...) law contain transparency and disclosure provisions obliging media companies to publish their ownership structures on their website or in records/documents that are accessible to the public?

The aim of the question is to check regulatory safeguard for transparency towards the citizens, the users and the public in general. 

 

X

(TV/ 

Radio/

Print/

Online)

 

 

Does national (media, company, tax...) law contain transparency and disclosure provisions obliging media companies to report (changes in) ownership structures to public authorities (such as the media authority)?

The aim of the question is to check regulatory safeguard for accountability and transparency towards public authorities.

2

(TV/ 

Radio)

X

(Print/

Online)

 

 

Is there an obligation by national law to disclose relevant information after every change in ownership structure?

This question aims at assessing if the law provides rules on the public availability of accurate and up-to-date data on media ownership. This is a condition for an effective transparency.

2

(TV/ 

Radio)

X

(Print/

Online)

 

 

Are there any sanctions in case of non-respect of disclosure obligations?

This question aims at assessing if the law on media ownership transparency can be enforced through the application of sanctions.

2

(TV/ 

Radio)

X

(Print/

Online)

 

 

Do the obligations ensure that the public knows which legal or natural person effectively owns or controls the media company?

This question aim at assessing the effectiveness of the laws that deal with media ownership transparency and if they succeed in disclosing the real owners of the media outlets.

High risk (0):

Effective owners are still hidden.

 

 

Total

 

  6 out of 20 

(Political) Control Over Media Outlets and Distribution Networks

This indicator assesses the risk of political affiliations and control over media and distribution networks. It also assesses the level of discrimination by politically affiliated media distribution networks. Discriminatory actions would for example include unfavorable pricing and posing barriers to media accessing the distribution channel. Political affiliations means that the media outlet or company belongs to a party, a partisan group, a party leader or a clearly partisan person.

Result: 

HIGH RISK 

Why?

For most of the selected media, political affiliations of their owners are not easily detectable. 

From a historical perspective political affiliations of the media owners were not only identifiable but also the owners themselves were expressing proudly their political ideology or political party affiliation. The most representative case is the one with Emilio Azcárraga Milmo, former president of Grupo Televisa, who besides declaring himself as PRI (Partido Revolucionario Institutcional) member, also defined himself as the “President’s soldier”.

In present times, in most of the cases, the relationships between the politics and the media owners are subtler; the owners themselves are not official members of political parties - but some of their family members might be. 

  • Jorge Kahwagi Gastine, owner and director of the journal La Crónica de Hoy, has a son who was a secretary of the political party Partido Nueva Alianza, and later became federal representative for the party of the greens Partido Verde. 
  • Ninfa Salinas Sada is the daughter of Ricardo Salinas Pliego, owner of one of the biggest television content producers in Spanish language - Grupo Salinas. Ninfa who for long years worked for the companies of her father, suddenly became federal representative and subsequently a senator for the party of the greens Partido Verde. 
  • Another example is the one with the Valladares family, known for their traditional linkage with the PRI; even the Valladares brothers, Miguel and Pablo, have been running for different positions on local and state elections.

Except for the family linkages, strong friendships between media owners and politicians are also very common to find: 

  • Francisco González Albuerne, Executive President of Grupo Milenio, is friends with Emilio Gamboa Patrón, PRI coordinator in the Senate and closely related to the Mexican president Enrique Peña Nieto. At the end of 2017, Gamboa Patrón and González Albuerne travelled e.g. together in a state helicopter to play golf with the President. 
  • Juan Francisco Ealy Ortiz, the Executive President of El Universal and eluniversal.com: For the birthday party of his daughter he invited the political elite of the country. Most of them PRI members; members of the Presidential cabinet such as Luis Videgaray, then Secretary of Finance, and currently Secretary of Foreign Relations; Miguel Ángel Osorio Chong, former Secretary of Interior and Jesús Murillo Karam, former Attorney General of the Republic, in addition to other parliament members and senators.  
  • Organización Editorial Mexicana (OEM) owned by the family of Mario Vázquez Raña: In 2012, Peña Nieto as the PRI presidential candidate visited the Ibero-American University as part of his political campaign. He was received by rejection and protests by the students which made him leave the University through the back door. The next day, several newspapers of the OEM appeared with the following title about the event: “Success for Peña at the Ibero University besides the boycott attempt”. In 2013, the OEM was the media that received most of the public budget (around 12 million dollars) for promotion of governmental reforms. 

In this scenery, although it is not possible to identify the media owners as party members, it is undebatable that there is an alliance between the government and the political class, where the media is rewarded or punished through the public funds, depending on the harshness or subtleness of their publications.

LOW (1)

MEDIUM (2)

HIGH (3)

Politicization of Media Outlets 

What is the share of TV / radio / online/ print media owned by politically affiliated entities? 

Value: no data

The media having <30% audience share is owned (controlled) by a specific political party, politician or political grouping, or by an owner with specific political affiliation.

The media having <50% - >30% audience share is owned (controlled) by a specific political party, politician or political grouping, or by an owner with specific political affiliation. 

The media having >50% audience share is owned (controlled) by a specific political party, politician or political grouping, or by an owner with specific political affiliation.

There have been many cases in Mexico where the company owners with concessions for broadcasting frequencies are at the same time legislators. The most culminating phenomenon of this kind is the integration of high-profile managers of television companies (Televisa and TV Azteca) in the state legislative bodies. Even more, some of them were appointed heads of radio, television and cinematography commissions, or heads of communication or transport commissions. This group of people at a certain point came to be more numerous that the representatives from the small political parties, both in the Senate and in the lower house. Because of their influence they are also known as Telebancada, Spanish for the bench of the television, the ones who represent the interests of the television magnates.

Politicization of Media Distribution Networks 

How would you assess the conduct of the leading distribution networks for print media?

Leading distribution networks are not politically affiliated or do not take discriminatory actions.

At least one of the leading distribution networks is politically affiliated or takes occasional discriminatory actions

All of the leading distribution networks are politically affiliated and has a record of repeated discriminatory actions

How would you assess the conduct of the leading radio distribution networks?

Leading distribution networks are not politically affiliated or do not take discriminatory actions.

At least one of the leading distribution networks is politically affiliated or takes occasional discriminatory actions

All of the leading distribution networks are politically affiliated and has a record of repeated discriminatory actions

How would you assess the conduct of the leading television distribution networks? 

Leading distribution networks are not politically affiliated or 

do not take discriminatory actions.

At least one of the leading distribution networks is politically affiliated or takes occasional discriminatory actions 

All of the leading distribution networks are politically affiliated and has a record of repeated discriminatory actions 

(Political) Control Over Media Funding

This indicator assesses the influence of the state on the functioning of the media market, focusing particularly on the risk of discrimination in the distribution of state advertisements. The discrimination can be reflected in favoritism towards political parties or affiliates of political parties in the government, or in penalization of media criticizing the government. 

Result: 

HIGH RISK

Why?

One of the most recent discussions in the country is the public budget destined for government publicity. Throughout many years, this has been one of the main tools of the governors and politicians to protect their image and keep the communications media under control. Although data on the overall sum of investment in publicity for each media company is not available, recent investigations show a high interdependency of the Mexican media and the government. This signals a high risk in the political control of media financing.

The report “Contar ‘lo bueno’ cuesta mucho”, conducted by the center of analysis and investigation Fundar, contains the most recent and reliable data on this matter. Accordingly, the Peña Nieto administration has spent more than 36 billion Mexican pesos (ca. 2 billion US dollars) in government publicity. Between 2013 and 2016, the television sector has received 35% of this budget (ca. 680 million US dollars); the radio 19% (ca. 370 million US dollars); the printed media 17% (ca. 330 million US dollars) and the online media between 5% and 7% (ca. 25 – 38 million US dollars).

Only very few companies collected almost 40% of the whole budget on government publicity: Grupo Televisa and TV Azteca lead the list with 17% and 10% respectively. Followed by Estudios Churubusco (3%), the publishing agency Starcom Worldwide (3%), El Universal (3%) and Grupo Fórmula (3%). 

No regulations on government publicity exist. The budget distribution is done in a discretionary manner without considering the audience share of the media. Among the analyzed business groups in the MOM project, besides Grupo Televisa, TV Azteca, El Universal and Grupo Fórmula, on the list of government beneficiaries appear also Organización Editorial Mexicana, Periódico Excélsior (ownership of Grupo Empresarial Ángeles), NRM Comunicaciones, among many others. Ironically, one of the first promises of Peña Nieto, when he came to power in December 2012, was establishing a regulatory institution for this matter. After almost six years, however, his administration has invested more in government publicity than all of the previous ones. 

LOW (1)

MEDIUM (2)

HIGH (3)

Is the state advertising distributed to media proportionately to their audience share? 

State advertising is distributed to the media relatively proportionately to the audience shares of media.

State advertising is distributed to the media relatively proportionately to the audience shares of media.

State advertising is distributed to the media relatively proportionately to the audience shares of media.

How would you assess the rules of distribution of state advertising?

State advertising is distributed to media outlets based on transparent rules.

State advertising is distributed to media outlets based on transparent rules.

State advertising is distributed to media outlets based on transparent rules.

Importance of state advertising

What is the share of state advertising as part of the overall TV / Radio / Print/ Online advertising market?

Value: There is no data available on the share of state advertising in the market.

Is the state advertising distributed to media proportionately to their audience share? 

Is the state advertising distributed to media proportionately to their audience share? 

Is the state advertising distributed to media proportionately to their audience share? 

 

Sources:

Paulina Castaño, Justine Dupuy y Javier Garduño – Fundar (2017). Contar lo “bueno” cuesta mucho. El gasto en publicidad oficial del gobierno federal de 2013 a 2016. 

Azam Ahmed (2017). Con su enorme presupuesto de publicidad, el gobierno mexicano controla los medios de comunicación. 

(Political) Control Over News Agencies

This indicator assesses the range and independence of competing news agencies, including the assessment of the level of state ownership and level of independence of state owned news agencies.

Result: 

HIGH RISK

Why? 

This indicator has been calculated only partially, due to the missing data on the market share of the news agencies in Mexico. The high risk has been determined due to the political affiliations of Notimex, the only state news agency in the country.

Mexican media may use international and national news agencies, of private character, as sources of information. However, the prices of their services are high compared to those of Notimex. Since many media, especially regional ones, are not able to buy contents of international agencies, they choose the less expensive option in the market, this is Notimex, a company founded by the state and known for its pro-government editorial policy.   

The first international news agencies in Mexico date back to the second decade of the 20th century. Despite the back then attempts to create national information services, it is only in in 1961 when the first national news agencies appear with the opening of the Mexican Information Agency, Informex, an organization of private character, founded by the journalist Álvaro Gálvez y Fuentes. Among its services it offered publicity, direct transmissions, production of reports for radio and television, as well as printed news.

After Informex, most national private agencies were founded during the last two decades of the 20th century. Several of them appeared linked to Mexican media, especially newspapers, as is the case of the Agencia de Noticias El Universal, the Agencia de Servicios Integrales de Comunicación of La Jornada, the Agencia Proceso de Información of the weekly journal Proceso, among others.

In 1968, the Mexican News Agency, Notimex appeared as Limited Liability Company with the State as the majoritarian owner. At that time, the government needed an organization which would allow to transmit information on the Olympic Games that were taking place in the country’s capital at the time. From the beginning, it was unclear whether Notimex was a news agency or one that offered political campaigning. Although officially, it has been known for its numerous news coverages on radio, television and printed press, it has historically been associated with the political party PRI (Partido Revolucionario Institucional). Researcher Raúl Trejo Delarbre published in the 1980s one of the very few texts on this subject: back then, some critical journalists avoided using Notimex contents because most of these contents had to be approved by various public officials. 

Although in 2006, Notimex was relaunched as a decentralized public organism with its own legal personality and own budget, and officially without ideological policy, it is still considered as an agency close to the ruling political party PRI. Gabriel Sosa Plata recently analyzed Notimex briefing notes about the presidential candidates and reveals that over 50 percent of these notes are in favor of PRI candidate, José Antonio Meade, positively report on his image and the objectives of his political campaign strategy.  

LOW (1)

MEDIUM (2)

HIGH (3)

What is the market share of the leading news agency? 

Value: There is no market share for news agencies available.

No news agency dominates the market (occupy >30% of the market of news agencies). 

One news agency has <50% ≥30% share of the market of news agencies. 

The leading news agency has ≥50% market share.

How would you evaluate the political affiliation and/or dependence of the largest news agency? 

None of the largest news agencies is dependent on political groupings in terms of ownership, affiliation of key personnel or editorial policy.

At least one of the largest news agencies is dependent on political groupings in terms of ownership, affiliation of key personnel or editorial policy.

Most or all of the largest news agencies is dependent on political groupings in terms of ownership, affiliation of key personnel or editorial policy.

 

Sources:

Raúl Trejo Delarbre (1989). Las agencias de información en México. 

Notimex (2015). Las agencias de noticias en la era digital. 

Gabriel Sosa Plata (2018). Notimex, al servicio de Meade. 

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