Los Angeles Times
May 24, 2012
By Tracy Wilkinson
MEXICO CITY — It’s almost starting to look like a movement. Thousands of university students have poured into the streets of Mexico City for the second time in a week to protest the way the nation’s upcoming presidential election is being run and, more specifically, covered in the Mexican media.
They are especially incensed that victory by Enrique Peña Nieto on July 1 is often portrayed as a fait accompli.
About 15,000 people (by city officials’ count) gathered Wednesday evening at the controversial Pillar of Light monument (seen by many here as a government boondoggle) and marched down the iconic Paseo de la Reforma.
They stopped outside the headquarters of the giant Televisa broadcasting network to demand fairer and more pluralistic TV news. “We are not one, we are not 100. Televisa, count us!” some chanted.
The protesters came from a wide range of universities: public, private; leftist, rightist, Catholic. And while many were decidedly anti-Peña Nieto — a message made clear in banners and signs — their protest appears to go beyond pure partisan politics and represents a broader questioning of Mexico’s status quo.
Television channel and newspaper ownership is concentrated in a few hands in Mexico, and many of the demonstrators believe it is skewed in favor of the Peña Nieto campaign and the return to presidential power of his Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI. The PRI ruled single-handedly for seven decades until being ousted in 2000.
That feeling of being left out, and a general disillusionment with a system long plagued by corruption, had led many of Mexico’s young voters to sit out this campaign. Wednesday’s protest, and another one over the weekend, may not be enough to turn the tide, but the efforts are attracting attention.
“The real miracle is that a complete generation that was condemned to apathy, to only observe, and to individualism, is once again making the nation’s destiny their own,” said Mexican writer Paco Ignacio Taibo II, who attended Wednesday’s march.
Televisa and other major news organizations have defended their coverage of the campaign, noting that they are required by law to give equal time to candidates.
“I came here to ask for transparency in the media,” said Chloe Nava, a student from the Panamericana University. “It seems we need to rescue that instinct as citizens.”
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