Court invalidates reform on media audience rights

The court analyzes Alberto Pérez Dayán's proposal on audience rights, which proposes to revive the obligation to differentiate between opinion and information.

Court invalidates reform on media audience rights
Supreme Court of Justice of Mexico has ruled that the media audience rights reform is unlawful. Image: Agencies

Due to problems with how the law was made, the Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation (SCJN) threw out the 2017 changes to the Federal Telecommunications and Broadcasting Law that affected audience rights.

The ministers of the country's highest court analyzed this Monday the so-called "rights of the audiences", which among other things, oblige radio and television stations to differentiate their opinion content from informative ones.

The idea from Minister Alberto Pérez Dayán that Congress should pass a law in the future about how radio and TV stations should tell the difference between opinion and information was approved unanimously.

However, in its session this Monday, the full court did not set a deadline for the Legislative Branch to resume the debate on the rights of audiences but did call for the respect of freedom of expression.

Ministers did not enter into the substantive analysis

But the ministers of the Court didn't get into the meat of the matter, so there was no decision on how radio and TV stations should handle differences in their content between opinion and information.

A few minutes after noon, the plenary session started. During it, Minister Alberto Pérez Dayán proposed that radio and TV newscasts again have to make a clear distinction between opinion and information.

Proposal to invalidate the reform to the Telecommunications Law

Minister Pérez Dayán explains that the decree reforming the Federal Telecommunications and Broadcasting Law, regarding the rights of audiences, should be declared invalid due to irregularities in the legislative procedure that did not allow the parliamentary minorities in the Senate to participate in the debate.
Minister Juan Luis González Alcántara, for his part, agreed with the project and said that the reform was invalid because of flaws in the way it was made.

During their intervention, Minister Yasmín Esquivel and Minister Jorge Pardo agreed that there were flaws in the approval of the reform and were in favor of invalidating the decree without pronouncing the rights of audiences.

Ministers Loretta Ortiz, Norma Piña, and Margarita Ríos support Pérez Dayán's project and consider that there were flaws in the legislative process. While the presiding minister of the SCJN, Arturo Zaldív also agrees with invalidating the reform due to procedural violations that affected legislative minorities.