Mexico’s leftwing presidential candidate, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, has called on Enrique Peña Nieto, the current favourite to win the election on 1 July, to come clean about the alleged purchase of favourable coverage on Mexico’s biggest television network. His comments came a day after the Guardian published documents implicating the Televisa network in the sale of news and entertainment content to promote Peña Nieto’s national profile when he was the governor of Mexico state and preparing his presidential bid. “They should hand over all the information, the contracts, that they haven’t wanted to show,” López Obrador told reporters. “Of course they have them, and we need to see how much they paid, for what kind of message, and if they include all the promotion of Peña Nieto on the television.” López Obrador, who represents a coalition of leftist parties called the Progressive Movement – and who in the past has also been criticised for failing to release details of his own publicity budget – said he wanted to study the documents before saying anything more. López Obrador did not mention the PowerPoint presentation mentioned in the Guardian story that detailed an apparent strategy within Televisa to destroy his first bid for the presidency in the 2006 election.
Several leading Mexican newspapers and radio shows led on the Guardian report in their Friday editions, and the story has become a trending topic on Twitter in the country. The allegations are particularly sensitive in the current electoral climate, in which student demonstrators accusing Televisa of favouring Peña Nieto have turned alleged media bias into a central issue of the campaign.
In response to a question about the documents on Friday, Peña Nieto told reporters that “they have no solid basis and are not authentic”. The candidate insisted that all publicity spending during his years as governor of the State of Mexico is publicly open to scrutiny on an official website.