Aristegui reinstated

Carmen Aristegui, the radio broadcaster who was forced off the air recently, hit the wave lengths again this week after MVS, the Mexican radio station that had kicked her out of her early morning spot agreed to put her back.

Aristegui had been fired following controversial comments that speculated whether President Felipe Calderon was a drunk. Her dismissal unleashed an unprecedented campaign by radio listeners and other supporters who claimed that President Calderon had demanded her head. The debate simmered as it became public that MVS was in the throes of applying for a concession of a WiMax technology, which would allow it to enter the new business of fixed and mobile telephones and TV.

The debate quickly settled on the reputation of the journalist. Ricardo Trotti of the Inter American Press Association, an organisation that monitors abuses against the press and represents newspaper owners, said Aristegui did not spread a rumor, but made an interpretation of an event that occurred in the Mexican Congress, where a congressman brought a banner that read “Would you let a drunk drive your car? No? Then why do you let him lead the country?

But Marco Lara Klhar, another columnist said that while the forced dismissal of Aristegui was not correct, she had violated journalistic ethics by spreading a rumour.

Klhar goes back and reveals that the first time the rumor about President Calderon´s alcoholim goes back to a political ploy by a journalist who was angry after the 2006 presidential elections where the leftist Democratic Revolution Party, PRD, lost by a small number of votes. The PRD challenged the results and has never accepted it lost the elections. Federico Arreola, the reporter, started the rumor, to get back at President Felipe Calderon, he recalled recently.

Now admitting that there is no evidence to prove that the president is a drunkard, Arreola says there is enough to be an “illegal” president because he did not win the 2006 elections.

Aristegui returned to her news program saying that the right to be critical in Mexico had been protected and she thanked her public for supporting her during the crisis. Aristegui is a controversial figure, but a well-respected analyst and broadcaster who often tackles issues other reporters ignore.