The Federal Telecommunications Institute (IFT) faces a major challenge: prevent a fundamental human right from being affected; freedom of expression in the electronic media, specifically radio and television.
It is a challenge that it will have to face at a time when it registers an evident institutional weakness, since it only operates with 5 of the 7 commissioners with whom it should work.
And at a juncture in which the president commissioner, Adolfo Cuevas, is about to leave office on February 28 of this year 2022.
As of that date, there would be only four commissioners left –if the corresponding appointments are not made–: Javier Juárez Mojica, Ramiro Camacho Castillo, Sóstenes Díaz González and Arturo Robles Rovalo.
Faced with the revived “Gag Law” with the resolution of the Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation that obliges radio and television news programs to distinguish between what is information and what is opinion, the IFT will have to be applied to find the right balance between audience rights and human rights.
The first chamber of the Court determined that in order to guarantee the rights of the audience, radio and television news programs must clearly distinguish between information and opinion. The Chamber of the Radio and Television Industry (CIRT) reacted immediately.
He said that the Court committed “a direct and unusual attack” on freedom of expression and that the sentence is, in fact, impossible to comply with and contrary to the “most elementary” common sense.
The president of the IFT, for his part, assures that he will prevent freedom of expression from being affected, without detracting from the fact that he will also seek to address concerns about the right to hearings.
Without fanfare, Cuevas recalls that several things still need to happen. In the first place, the Congress of the Union will have to abide by the Court’s ruling and issue a legislative project.
In this process, says the official, the IFT will be very proactive, with full respect for Congress itself, but decisively and firmly, to ensure that the legislative process is in accordance with the mandates of freedom of expression.
After the legislative process, the IFT would have to issue new guidelines. The IFT – Cuevas warned – is not going to establish a rule that supposes an obstacle to free expression or a tortuous, ineffective mechanism, impossible to comply with, that only gives rise to anxiety and sanction risk.
The IFT is a guarantee – he assured – that freedom of expression prevails and prevails over any other consideration.
We can not have media or communicators who feel threatened, restricted, unable, hindered to carry out their communication work, he argues.
For the president of the IFT, dialogue with all parties, including the radio and television industry, will be essential.
The president commissioner whose administration is about to end trusts that the President of the Republic will keep his word and appoint the missing commissioners.
He said that last December the IFT commissioners had a meeting with the Chief Executive, who assured them that he would send the appointments.
They explained to him that after the departure of Adolfo Cuevas, a number of at least five commissioners will be required for the IFT to make decisions that, by law, must be voted on with that number of votes.
And they also warned him that if the IFT does not have the necessary commissioners, it would be unable to act and this is a risk because it violates the autonomous nature of the institution, which is at the same time a commitment of the T-MEC.
Hopefully, as the president of the IFT trusts, this autonomous body will soon receive the appointments of the commissioners, so that it is effectively viable and can fulfill all its powers, beginning with that of monitoring and protecting freedom of expression.
But until you see, do not believe. At the time
Rich and Powerful
He has worked continuously in newspapers, magazines, radio, television and the Internet, in the last 31 years he has specialized in business, finance and economics. He is one of the three hosts of the program Alebrijes, Águila o Sol, a program specialized in economic issues that is broadcast on Foro TV.