What is the Mexican Youth Movement #yosoy132

yosoy132

 

A YouTube video aimed at politicians of the PRI, the Green Party and mass media (specially public television), recorded by students of the Iberoamerican University was enough to propagate a wave of protests, first through Twitter and then on the streets that has become a social movement under the now famous name of #yosoy132 (#Iam132, impossible to understand without the hash tag). The name comes from the 131 students that participated in the video and that are now asking other students to be number 132 and join them in the movement. These protests started happening after the first presidential candidates’ debate in Mexico, where a discussion between Enrique Peña Nieto of the PRI and Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador of the left wing coalition about the costs of their publicity campaigns while in office was left without resolving. In a debate that was not aired in  Televisa’s or Tv Azteca’s (the public TV duopoly) bigger audience channels for no apparent reason other than their own political agenda, Peña Nieto told Obrador that if television made presidents, which Obrador has accused Televisa of doing, he, Obrador would already be so because according to Peña Nieto’s information, Obrador had spent a billion pesos in publicity when major of Mexico City. But the joke soon turned on him when Obrador stated that those billion pesos had been spent in the total 6 years of his government, meanwhile Peña Nieto had wasted 691 million pesos in just the first year as governor of the State of Mexico (that number grew in the next years of his government). Obrador also showed documents that allegedly proved an agreement between Televisa and Peña Nieto that has recently been made public. The document titled “Work Plan” dates from 2005 and consists of the marketing strategy put into action in order to distance Peña Nieto’s image from his predecessor Arturo Montiel who is accused of corruption and for whom Peña Nieto worked for. According to the document, the goal was to reposition Peña Nieto’s public image through TV Promo, a company that is owned by Alejandro Quintero, Televisa executive, as well as by using Televisa itself as a platform for this publicity campaign.

On May 10th, a few days before the rising of the #yosoy132 movement,  Jenaro Villamil, a journalist from Proceso Magazine who obtained the so called “Work Plan”, argued with Héctor Aguilar Camín who in 2005 conducted a show at Televisa about the document. Aguilar Camín stated that the information provided by Villamil consisted of “invented pieces of paper”. On the same day that students of the Iberoamerican University uploaded the video that would start the #yosoy131 movement, Jenaro Villamil published the aforementioned “Worked Plan” in social networks. The information has not been disproved by Aguilar Camín, nor by Televisa, company that has instead concentrated in attacking Carmen Aristegui, Mexican journalist and host of the radio show where Villamil and Aguilar Camín discussed the documents.

Students of the Iberoamerican University protested against Peña Nieto when he visited this university a few weeks ago. They accused him, among other things, of the violent suppression in San Salvador Atenco during his time as governor.  But their protests were manipulated by Mexico’s mass media, which informed that those who had protested where not students but paid Obrador supporters and that in spite of this, Peña Nieto had confronted the situation as a democrat, although student videos clearly show him desperately trying to leave the hostile university grounds.  This media manipulation was what motivated the students’ defense in the aforementioned video and the creation of a movement against what they consider an imposition. An imposition that has been planned for seven years now, mainly by a television company that has unrestrained power and that wants to impose a president of their liking.

What is at stake is a battle concerning the media. What the #yosoy132 movement wants is simple: No manipulation of public opinion; genuine concern in order to democratize information and stop mass media monopolies from controlling public opinion. A battle that needless to say could not be happening without the rise of the internet and social networks in the country. All this proves Genis Roca’s analysis correct: “Digital society is a historical moment that modifies the transfer of knowledge, the productive system and society” in its relations.

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