Transparency & accountability

IFE coordinates with UNAM to monitor election news; Meets initial resistance from Radio and

The Instituto Federal Electoral (IFE) is coordinating with researchers at the Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico (UNAM) to monitor the coverage of the electoral process this year among several hundred media groups. Among the metrics being used is the amount of coverage given to candidates from different political parties.

IFE officials say that they are focusing strictly on the federal electoral campaigns and not other aspects of the political actors and that the monitoring is being done with the intent of transparency. However, the monitoring met with some initial resistance from the National Chamber of the Radio and Television Industry, which was concerned that some of the findings might end up being distorted. For example, differences in the time reserved for coverage of certain candidates might be a matter of just a few seconds but they could be exaggerated with the use of certain graphics that do not reflect the actual minor differentiation.

The initial analysis was done by the UNAM during the first few weeks of May, and it focused on 270 radio and television programs around the country. In that initial finding, the media groups’ coverage was mostly split among the National Action Party (24.3 percent), the Party of the Democratic Revolution (22.5 percent), and the Institutional Revolutionary Party (22.3 percent).

The monitoring schedule involves releasing findings every 15 days and the scope of media monitoring could eventually include more than 300 news outlets. In response to the initial criticism from the National Chamber of the Radio and Television Industry, the IFE stood by the analysis being done by the UNAM, calling it “independent and the most important in our electoral history.”

This is the first time in the IFE’s 14-year history that they have designated the UNAM to monitor the media coverage of an electoral campaign. The information can be reviewed on this IFE web page:

From the June Justice in Mexico Project’s Monthly News Report:

“IFE publica primeros resultados de monitoreo de spots.” El Universal. May 26, 2009.
Gerardo, Jose. “IFE defiende monitoreo a noticiarios realizado por la UNAM.” El Universal. June 4, 2009.
Martinez F. and Urrutia A. “El Monitorea de noticiarios, ejercicio transparente, responde el IFE a la CIRT. La Jornada. June 5, 2009.
Urrutia, Alonso and Martinez, Fabiola. “CIRT e IF aclaran diferendo por monitoreo de noticiarios.” La Jornada. June 10, 2009.

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