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A Culture of Collusion: An Inside Look at the Mexican Press

William A. Orme, Jr., editor
ISBN: 978-1-57454-012-3
1997/159 pages
Distributed for the North-South Center Press

"A nuanced assessment of the threats still faced by Mexican journalists, especially in the provinces, and of the corruption of much of the mainstream media."—Jonathan Fox, Latin American Research Review

"This pioneering report reveals a pattern of violence against journalists outside the capital and includes brief histories of 11 Mexican reporters who were killed in mysterious circumstances over the past 10 years.... A timely and valuable book on a long-taboo topic."—Foreign Affairs


Few outsiders are fully aware of the complex relationship between the ostensibly independent news media in Mexico and the governing Institutional Revolutionary Party—a relationship enforced by subsidies, bribery, fear of violence, and mutual political convenience. This groundbreaking collection of analytical essays by leading Mexican and U.S. journalists examines the culture of collusion and portrays how it is only now beginning to change.

The book features frank, first-hand accounts of overt subsidies, pay-offs, and news-as-advertising budgets that keep most Mexican dailies dependent on government support; pressures on Mexican journalists covering the Chiapas uprising, political assassinations, and the presidential campaign of 1994; and changing methods of government coercion and co-opting of the news media before and after the Salinas administration. The authors also explore the financial and political interests of the strong-willed government loyalist who controls Mexican television news and the growing Mexican influence on Spanish-language news broadcasting in the United States.

The outgrowth of a two-year investigative project by the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), this study reveals a disturbing pattern of violence against journalists outside the capital city and includes brief CPJ case histories of a dozen Mexican reporters who were murdered in mysterious circumstances over the past ten years.


William A. Orme, Jr., a former foreign correspondent in Mexico, is executive director of the Committee to Protect Journalists.


  • Overview: From Collusion to Confrontation—W.A. Orme, Jr.
  • A Culture of Collusion: The Ties that Bind the Press and the PRI—R. Palacio.
  • Trial by Fire: The Chiapas Revolt, the Colosio Assassination, and the Mexican Press in 1994—S. Sarmiento.
  • La Gacetilla: How Advertising Masquerades as News—J. Keenan.
  • Sound Bites and Soap Operas: How Mexican Television Reported the 1994 Presidential Elections—B. Belejack.
  • The Eye of the Tiger: Emilio Azcarraga and the Televisa Empire—M. Miller and J. Darling.
  • Televisa North: Spanish-Language News in the U.S.—A. Rodriguez.
  • Balancing Act: Surviving as a Television Reporter in Mexico—B. Lopez.
  • From Intimidation to Assassination: Silencing the Press—L. Conger.
  • Mexican News and American Diplomacy: U.S. State Department Monitoring of Press Freedom Violations in Mexico—M.C. Moynihan.
  • The Measure of Violence: Problems in Documentation—J. Solomon.
  • Limits to "Apertura": Prospects for Press Freedom in the New Free-Market Mexico—J.G. Castaneda.
  • APPENDIX: Mexican Journalists Murdered in the Line of Duty Between 1984 and 1995.