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The role of the press

One of the purposes of the press is to keep societies informed about politics and about relevant events happening around them
People reading newspaper headlines in Lima, Peru - Photo: Luis Camacho/XINHUA
13/10/2017
09:00
Mexico City
Newspaper Leader by EL UNIVERSAL
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One of the purposes of the press around the world is to keep societies informed about politics and the most important events happening around them. The principles which rule its operation are veracity and neutrality in the handling of the information. Thus, the press and the media have been, historically, a counterweight to public administration. 

In Mexico, freedom of the press was achieved at the same time there was more openness to different political ideologies and after decades of a predominant standard vision of the role of politics. Now, from different fronts, journalism exposes a considerable portion of what represents the everyday life of a public official.

In late August, EL UNIVERSAL had access to several documents which showed the economic situation of the family of the national leader of the National Action Party (PAN). At the same time he began his life in politics – 14 years ago –, his wife and in-laws began to amass a considerable wealth.

The investigation involved the review of over 50 public records, deeds and certificates from the Public Registry of Property and Commerce of the state of Querétaro. The information contained hard facts on the estate of the national leader of the party. These documents are the record of the properties and transactions made, and the evidence – in the best case scenario – of an atypical behavior in the acquisition and sale of his assets. Yet, this national party leader claims everything is a plot against him, at the same time he evades and fails to provide a direct response to the information published by this newspaper.

The fact that a few months ago the PAN leader presented himself as a man living an austere life with a monthly salary of 48 thousand Mexican pesos for a national leader – less than previous party leaders, upon his request – and weeks later it is shown there are several properties on his name and that he had, in reality, a lifestyle which doesn't match his income, is, in itself, a matter of journalistic interest. It doesn't require a plot hatched by a newspaper.

Now, this newspaper is publishing information on the properties of the national leader of the Democratic Revolution Party (PRD). Between 2012 and 2015 – which matches her appointment to the Mexican Senate – she acquired properties for over 35 million Mexican pesos: an apartment in Acapulco, another apartment in Miami, and a house in one of the most exclusive areas in Mexico City.

Given her background in unions and now her position as the leader of a leftist party, the properties of this other national leader are also a matter of journalistic interest.

To put under the microscope the performance of public officials has drawn harsh criticism from politicians towards the media, regardless of whether we're talking about the United States, Mexico or Venezuela. The press is only performing the role it was intended to play.

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