On Sept. 16, The Bee reported ("Mexican Congress OKs sweeping tax, campaign reforms," Page A-11) that Mexico's three main political parties approved a major campaign reform that President Felipe Calderón will sign into law. It requires that all broadcast outlets "be required to provide 48 minutes each day free of charge to political campaigns." Mexico's TV and radio stations "will be prohibited from selling airtime to candidates." In addition, the "presidential campaign season will be shortened from 186 days to 90 days." Let's learn from Mexico and adopt similar changes in this country.
During our elections, media profits soar and only the rich or well-funded get a voice because the media charge so much for political ads and focus only on the people they regard as the top contenders. Image and news bites supplant thoughtful explanations of complex ideas. Mexico's media giants Televisa and TV Azteca opposed the change. The powerful media conglomerates here will do the same. But what matters more, the coffers of the media magnates or the health and fairness of our democracy?