May 23, 2019
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Mexican gov't has cut p.r. spending by 50 pct., president says

Mexico City, Apr 17 (efe-epa).- The Mexican government published new guidelines for communications on Wednesday, with public advertising spending being cut by 50 percent and the emphasis now on spreading outlays among more media outlets.

"We are going to manage the advertising funds with austerity. The ad budget will be reduced by 50 percent compared to previous years," President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said during his daily press conference at the National Palace.

Although the 50 percent reduction had already been announced, the federal government's new Social Communication Policy was published Wednesday in the Official Gazette (DOF).

Presidential spokesman Jesus Ramirez Cuevas said the new administration, which took office on Dec. 1, is aiming for a more horizontal and democratic conversation without pressuring communications outlets.

The official budget for 2019 is 4.7 billion pesos (about $250 million).

During Enrique Peña Nieto's last year in office in 2018, the authorized budget had been less, just under 4 billion pesos ($209 million), but the government ended up spending almost 9 billion pesos ($476 million).

"In some cases, the budget approved by Congress was doubled or tripled in an extraordinary way, with no explanation," Ramirez Cuevas said.

In addition to the budget cut, the new guidelines will forbid annual contracts with the media, and agreements will be sought for every advertising campaign.

The goal is to distribute the scarce resources more evenly within the media space.

"No media outlet - no matter how dominant - should have more than 25 percent of the advertising budget" for a single campaign, he said.

The Social Communications office will not hire any external advertising agencies and will produce the ad campaigns themselves.

In keeping with the austerity plan, they will also use 100 percent of the assigned airtime and receive limited funds for extra time only when an ad campaign "calls for it."

Ramirez Cuevas also said that the Finance Ministry has determined the price that will be paid for advertising on around 3,300 media platforms.

"With the government's austerity plan, the media was asked to adapt to the new conditions and the budget cuts," reducing average ad rates by 10 percent, Ramirez Cuevas said.

In Mexico, according to official figures, there are 2,052 radio stations, 865 television channels, some 1,590 print media outlets and thousands of digital media platforms, although no definitive figures exist for the latter.

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