19 | NOV | 2019
80% of the content created for public radio is paid through labor fees- Photo: File Photo/EL UNIVERSAL

Public radio is key for the country

Mexico City
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Yesterday, the President announced that there would be no dismissals

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The resources allocated to public media have always been scant but the cuts made by the current government have put their existence at risk, especially the radio.

At the beginning of the radio broadcasts, there were two models: the European and the U.S. models. The European model prioritized public service and the U.S. model focused on the commercial aspect. As a result of its location, Mexico followed the U.S. model. Influential private groups defined the development and route followed by the radio and TV.

The government's interest in media came a little late: in the 70s, it participated in TV and joined the radio in the 80s. They covered issues ignored by private media: culture, society, education, and science,

On Tuesday, the Mexican Radio Institute (Imer) announced that as a result of budget cuts, on July 1, the radio stations would stop broadcasting radio shows and would only play music since over 200 employees would be dismissed. As a result, the audience would also lose options.

After social media users and mass media criticized the decision, authorities were forced to intervene and find a solution. Yesterday, the President announced that there would be no dismissals and that everything would be solved within a few hours.

As it has been the case in other institutions, the presidential instruction to dismiss the employees who received a commission income was especially harmful to the IMER because according to numbers from the Mexican government's Public Broadcasting System, 80% of the content created for public radio is paid through labor fees, The practice of hiring casual workers is nothing new, it was widely used during previous governments, when they opted for using that scheme, instead of creating stable jobs with benefits.

In the midst of promises, complaints, and denounces, it has become evident that public media is important. Rather than using the radio to spread the government's message, it is an opportunity to ratify its social role. Instead of repeating commercial formulas, public radio should focus on creating a national identity, promote culture, and give opportunities to those who propose interesting projects. Making public radio weak is to silence key voices for the country.


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