TV Azteca, the harrasser
A private person has
bodyguards who are federal agents, without the right to have
them, that don't limit themselves to protecting her from threats
that have not been legally denounced, but rather to harrass a
political enemy of the business that employees the journalist:
That's what this is about, not an episode in the fight for freedom
By Miguel Angel Granados Chapa
NOTE: Veteran journalist
and radio commentator Migual Angel Granados Chapa is one of the
most respected experts on journalism in Mexico
Public Plaza column
In an authoritarian system where more
than once the prosecution authorities have harrassed journalists
or scorned their complaints, it would seem like a case of poetic
justice that the power of TV would put a prosecutor against the
wall in an intent to break a punitive silence. However this is
not what has occured in the most recent phase of the conflict
created by TV Azteca against the Mexico City prosecutor. This
last episode has served to display the diversity of the criminal
connections of this broadcaster with the federal government in
areas directly connected with delinquency.
The business that was transfered from
the government to Ricardo Salinas Pliego in terms that have never
been sufficiently explained has sought to make a case of violated
liberty of expression or investigation, as a consequence of the
Paco Stanley assassination. When 11 months ago the entertainment
TV conductor was assassinated by bullets, TV Azteca summarily
condemned the Capital authorities, to the point of practically
blaming them for the homicide. But immediately afterward they
had to eat their words, if they had a minimum of shame, because
it became clear that the victim participated in the drug trafficking
business. Of course such a circumstance doesn't justify revenge,
but it put everything in its appropriate perspective; the case
not having been far from the TV station, exhibiting the attitude
of its executives and owner, they opened a rude battle not for
liberty or dignity of detained individuals, but rather to save
themselves from the attention of the prosecutor.
As part of the judicial process against
the presumed assassins of Stanley (a case that will go forward
in spite of the propaganda and arguments used to stop it), the
prosecutor's office dared to ask Salinas Pliego to face questioning.
So persistent before the judges in litigating against other journalists,
the owner of TV Azteca refused to present himself on the first
subpoena. And he launched a counter-offensive. He sent the conductor
of one of his news shows, Lily Téllez, to interview prosecutor
Samuel del Villar, who declined to speak with her, as it was
evident that she did not seek to satisfy a necessity of information,
but rather to trap the official, whom she has tried to involve
in an illegal deal with the principal witeness in the case against
the assassins of Stanley. It is the right of all public servants,
as with all people, to accept or decline an interview....
The reporter then ordered her bodyguards,
five of them, to investigate the movements near the house of
the prosecutor, to cover the entrance and exit and force the
interview that he refused to give. The conduct of the guards
of the journalist went way beyond protecting their client and
probably committed a crime. The prosecutor persisted denying
the interview. The blow up that happened last Sunday has been
covered with the manipulated exaggeration that is the signature
of TV Azteca.
The bodyguards of Lily Téllez are
members of the Federal Judicial Police. There is no law that
permits that members of this police corps can serve individuals.
It has been alleged that, after an investigation of drug trafficking,
the journalist has been threatened and was assigned the bodyguards
for her protection. There is no case in any file about such threats,
that would be the (local, not federal) basis for a prosecutor
to offer police protection to the presumed victim. It would not
be possible to offer protection in every one of these cases.
The illegal service given by the federal
Attorney General's office to the reporter recalls the similar
muddy and unfounded relation of the federal government with Stanley.
They permitted him to carry arms reserved for governmental personnel
without having been an employee of the federation (unless they
can show that in effect he was). If, as we suppose, the journalist
doesn't have that status either, then it would only constitute
a favoritism derived from who-knows-what dark relation that allows
five federal agents to guard a private individual. And much less
when those bodyguards are used to investigate and intimidate
in turn the home of the city prosecutor.
As an extra measure, like the cherry on
the cake, the vehicle in which the journalist and her guards
travelled is the property of the state government of Sonora.
Independently of the family relationships that recently explained
her access to this vehicle, the reporter now convicts herself
with her own information: there is an open complicity between
the PRI system and TV Azteca. Public resources (persons and equipment)
are used for goals that are distinct from those allowed under
law. But when the assignment of such resources persues political
ends, like the harrassment of an authority in the context of
a complicated judical situation, the gravity of the facts forces
that they be clarified. We thought that TV Azteca had been privatized.
Today we can prove that it continues being part of the federal
government, administrated from its foul-smelling cellars.
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