The Mexican Congress recently passed some very important election campaign reforms and it appears to me be a miracle of cooperation between Mexico’s three main political parties that was engineered by Mexico’s dynamic new president, Filipe Calderón . The new law requires that all broadcast companies provide at least 48 minutes daily free of charge to legitimate registered political campaigns. Mexico's TV and radio stations will not be allowed sell any other air time to individual political candidates. Negative campaign statements about other candidates will not be allowed. In addition, the presidential campaign season will be shortened from 186 days to 90 days. They will also reform the election commission to better insure that there is no hanky-panky going on while tabulating election returns. This is an incredible leveling of the playing field.
During U.S election campaigns the broadcast companies make fantastic profits and only the rich or people withrich friends and a big talent for attracting money get a voice because the American media charge so much for political ads and focus only on the people they regard as the top contenders. Instead of detailed discussions about important ideas all we get are 30 or 60 second news bites. Mexico's media giants Televisa and TV Azteca are crying the blues about the new changes. The powerful media conglomerates in the United States will do the same if legislation similar to Mexico’s is passed into law. But what matters more, the pocket books of the giant media magnates, or the health and well being of the American democracy? I hope that we can see some true election campaign reforms during the next administration. If not, the credibility of the United States as a true democracy will continue on a decline in the eyes of the rest of the world and our own as well.