Acclaimed Journalist Carmen Aristegui FiredBy Ivan Arturo Ebergenyi Thorpe
Company cites rejection of Radio Host's “ultimatum”
A communiqué issued by Mexican radio network MVS Radio has informed that veteran journalist Carmen Aristegui's tenure with the company would be involuntarily terminated.
“We regret [Aristegui's] posture,” reads the document, which was posted on the company's website on Sunday. “However, as a company we cannot accept conditions and ultimatums issued by our employees.”
By Monday, reaction by Mexican and international media outlets alike had been swift, with many personalities and even the company's own ombudsman lamenting the network’s decision.
“I regret the departure of [Carmen Aristegui] from MVS,” read a tweet from Televisa anchor Joaquin López-Dóriga. “It is a loss for MVS, for radio, for her, for all of us.”
Forbes magazine's Nathaniel Parish Flannery described MVS Radio's decision as “difficult to understand” from a business perspective, seeing how the host's mounting popularity had gathered a “huge following.”
The fallout is not restricted to comments. Two hosts have already resigned in protest, including renowned political analyst Denise Dresser.
Aristegui's dismissal takes place in the wake of the termination of fellow reporters Daniel Lizarraga and Irving Huerta last week. Both reporters are credited with high profile investigative reports.
MVS Radio's express motive for this first dismissal was a breach of confidence on behalf of the two journalists who expressed their support for MéxicoLeaks, a newly created digital platform for whistleblowers. According to the company, the resources and brand of MVS had been employed by Lizárraga and Huerta without authorization.
Though surprised, Aristegui's initial reaction was uncharacteristically conciliatory when news broke out of the two journalists' sacking. The same day, however, she publicly rejected the decision, describing the (hoped) reinstatement of the two reporters as an “absolute condition to moving forward.” Sunday's published communiqué suggests an ongoing clash between Aristegui and the company from that point on.
This is not the first time Aristegui has been at odds with the radio branch of the massive media conglomerate, MVS Comunicaciones. In February 2011, the veteran reporter was let go for editorial conflicts only to be re-hired two weeks after, following negotiations.
Though she started her career in television in the early 2000s, Aristegui had worked in radio well before, and eventually earned a reputation for being a steely, no-nonsense reporter dedicated to a fearless and rigorous brand of journalism, uncommon in Mexico at the time.
Javier Solórzano, a former colleague of Aristegui during her early television days, also took his thoughts to the Twittersphere, expressing solidarity with Aristegui and her team. Luis Cárdenas, a host with MVS Radio, publicly lamented Aristegui’s departure though defended the network's decision as one based on labor issues alone.
On Monday morning, during a brief interview with the press outside of her former employer’s headquarters, Aristegui expressed her intentions to impugn the network's decision.
MVS informed that Aristegui's morning news slot will be occupied by Carlos Reyes, who until Monday had occupied the weekend news segment.
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