MEXICO CITY (AP) — Some Mexican press and human rights groups on Friday questioned a government fine of $45,000 against a magazine that has long been critical of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador.
The press group Article 19 and two rights groups said in a statement that the fine for Nexos magazine was “disproportionate and excessive.”
Earlier this week, the government announced the fine and also banned federal agencies from advertising in the magazine for two years.
Since he took office in December 2018, López Obrador has insulted, but not censored, publications he feels are too critical.
The federal comptroller’s office argues the magazine presented false documentation while trying to get paid for a public health promotional ad that the government ran in the magazine in 2018. The amount the magazine billed for the ad was less than $3,000, raising questions about whether the punishment was proportionate.
Nexos said in a statement that the allegedly false documentation was a “bureaucratic” problem. Article 19 suggested it may have been a computer or system error in obtaining a certificate,required of government contractors to prove they have paid appropriate employee benefits to their workers.
The advertising ban may be largely symbolic, because Nexos says it has not received any government ad contracts since 2018, when López Obrador’s predecessor left office.
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