Provoke is not debate

The president and the journalist

Citizens are free to choose where and how to inform us, the authorities are obliged to guarantee freedom of the press. People have the right to disagree with the editorial line of any media outlet; officials have no power to retaliate against any journalist for what they publish.

When López Obrador speaks in his morning conferences from the National Palace, he does not do so as a citizen but as president. And by disclosing information about Carlos Loret’s alleged income, he commits an illegality because he lacks the power to do so. Furthermore, if the figures he gave are true, that means that he violated the right to personal data protection; if they are false, that he incurred defamation.

López Obrador alleges that he is only exercising his freedom as a person, but by doing so from the platform of his investiture as an official he is committing a double abuse. On the one hand, he uses the pretext of a citizen’s right (the right of reply) to transgress the restrictions imposed by his condition of authority. On the other hand, he abuses the power of the presidency to harass a person (Carlos Loret) who legitimately exercised his right to freedom of expression.

Perhaps the president does not care or ignores it, but there is a regulatory law of the sixth constitutional article that regulates the right of reply and to which he, his son, his daughter-in-law, Baker Hughes or Pemex could benefit in this case. That would require, however, that they provide evidence, and not just value judgments, to refute the revelations that Loret disclosed.

Can’t they, and instead is the President choosing to try to litigate in the court of public opinion what he knows he can’t win in the courts of law? Some construction workers have argued that this is an issue that must be discussed politically, leaving aside the legal dimension. It happens, however, that this argument seems to try to normalize a circumstance that continues to be not only abnormal but alarming: that of separating the discussion about power from the discussion about the norm.

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