3/21/11— After the controversy sparked by the film “Presumed Guilty,” Marcelo Ebrard, head of the Federal District, proposed the idea of videotaping trials in Mexico City to promote transparency within the country. To implement this initiative, he proposed needing 11 billion pesos, which would go towards building new courtrooms and preparing the judges, prosecutors, police investigators, and lawyers. Ebrard noted that it is important that the law provides for the respect of personal information and privacy rights. He went on to say that videotaping the trials would not make the tapes open in all media outlets and that they would be used as a resource for judges, the defense of each side, and audits for any trial.
The Board of Public Safety in the Federal District approved the proposal made by Ebrard on March 11th, saying that it will help “in the path of constitutional reform, transparency in processes, as well as verification and due process for all in all judicial proceedings.”
Since the proposal was passed in the Board of Public Safety, numerous political figures have expressed their support for the initiative. Obdulio Avila, president of the National Action Party’s (PAN) capital leadership, noted that the taping of trials would create more trust in the government from the population. Mauricio Tabe Echartea, PAN assemblyman, also stressed the importance of this initiative and agreed with the steps that need to be taken to create more transparency within the judicial sector.
The videotaping of trials proposes certain consequences, however, like editing material to remove it from its original context. Edgar Elias Azar, a judge opposed to the videotaping of trials, brought up the potential problematic issue of taping certain cases, such as those involving children or sexual offenders.
Julio Cesar Moreno, chairman of the Committee of Administration and Law Enforcement Legislative Assembly, stated that the proposal of videotaping trials in Mexico is nothing new. The priority is to implement judicial reform in the infrastructure, he said, which should precede the installation of courtroom cameras. He then went on to negate the idea that cameras would cost as much as 11 billion pesos to install, saying instead that they would cost 11 million pesos.