Mexico’s president said Friday he will shut down Notimex, a national news agency that has been locked in a years-long strike against the woman he appointed to run it.
Founded in 1968, Notimex was generally a service that mainly sent news reports from Mexico’s 32 states, many of which weren’t covered much by Mexico’s national newspapers, which are almost all based in Mexico City.
Analysts said it is the latest chapter in an effort by President Andrés Manuel López Obrador to control public government media and scientific or cultural bodies.
López Obrador said Friday that there is no longer a need for Notimex, saying his carefully orchestrated morning news briefings are enough to keep the country informed.
“We do not need a government news agency anymore. That was from the era of press statements,” López Obrador said. “It is not something that we need as a government. We have the mañanera” — his daily news briefing.
The unionized workers at Notimex went on strike in 2020, arguing some members had been unfairly fired or harassed by Sanjuana Martínez, who was appointed by López Obrador to run the agency in 2019, soon after he took office. The two sides have made no progress in resolving the strike.
López Obrador said the agency will be closed after an agreement is reached to pay the striking workers’ severance payments.
Martínez said she completely agreed with the decision to shut down the 55-year-old news agency, which she claimed was ridden with corruption when she took over.
“I am totally in agreement” with the decision, Martínez said.
She added she agreed that the president’s morning news briefings — where pre-selected bloggers and reporters usually ask soft-ball questions, and sometimes openly state their loyalty to López Obrador — is enough to keep Mexicans informed.
“It is a successful phenomenon with high audience share that has allowed (the government) to respond to the press, which in general has opted for campaigns of slander and lies,” Martínez said.