Top Mexican journalist sees government hand in firing
MEXICO CITY - Agence France-Presse
Mexican journalist Carmen Aristegui speaks to the press in Mexico City on March 16, 2015 a day after being fired. AFP PhotoOne of Mexico's most popular journalists said March 19 she suspects the government was behind her firing because of her report about the first lady's controversial purchase of a mansion.
Carmen Aristegui said the abrupt way that she was sacked from her top-rated MVS radio morning program this week makes her think that "there was someone really angry, someone seeking some sort of vengeance" over her work.
Fellow journalists, intellectuals and political observers have denounced the firing of Aristegui, which followed the dismissal of two of her investigative reporters, as an attack on freedom of speech.
"I can't imagine that something of this magnitude without at least the consent of the maximum presidential power or the highest powers," Aristegui said in a press conference broadcast on her website.
Asked whether her report about the first lady's house was the reason for her dismissal, she said: "I suspect."
The way MVS "handled things, they way they escalated the issue obviously makes us think that there has been a government intervention, but we don't have a document to prove it," said Aristegui, who also works for CNN's Spanish-language service.
Pena Nieto's spokesman did not return a call seeking comment, while MVS rejected the allegations.
The government issued a statement this week saying the conflict was "an issue between private citizens."
Aristegui's investigative team revealed last year that President Enrique Pena Nieto's wife, former soap opera star Angelica Rivera, had bought a Mexico City mansion from a government contractor.
The story sparked allegations of conflict of interest, which the president denied.
MVS denies the government pressured the company to fire Aristegui and says she was let go because she gave an ultimatum, demanding that her two reporters be reinstated.
The radio station says it fired the two journalists last week because they used the company's name without authorization in their participation in a new whistleblower website named MexicoLeaks.
Aristegui rejected the reasons given by MVS for her firing as an "artificial conflict" and asked the station to put her team back on the air.
MVS communications vice president Felipe Chao reiterated that her "ultimatum" was behind her firing and indicated she would not be rehired, adding in a news conference: "We wish you good luck."