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MEXICO CITY — Prominent anchorwoman Carmen Aristegui has been given the axe at news channel MVS for addressing rumors that Mexican President Felipe Calderon has an alleged alcohol problem.
The controversial dismissal of Aristegui, considered a leading commentator for various television and radio programs, has prompted several local media outfits to call it an attack on freedom of expression. The firing also generated considerable online buzz, as Aristegui’s name appeared as a top trend on Twitter on Monday.
The issue surfaced last week after opposition lawmakers interrupted a congressional session to raise an anti-Calderon banner that read: “Would you let a drunk drive your car? No, right? So why would you let one drive your country?”
Aristegui said on a newscast the following day that there was “no way to confirm” the legislators’ allegations and that most of the rumors about the president had circulated on social networks. Nonetheless, she insisted the matter deserves serious attention: “Does the president or does he not have an alcohol problem?,” she asked. “The presidency should give a clear and formal answer with respect to this.”
MVS issued a statement Monday verifying that Aristegui had been canned for her remarks.
“The reporter Carmen Aristegui gave validity to an assumption, transgressing our code of ethics, and in [her] refusing to offer a public apology, as requested by the company, we have decided to terminate our contractual relationship [with her],” MVS said.
A spokesperson was not available for comment at the presidency and Aristegui is yet to make a public statement. Aristegui’s voice will continue to be heard on Aristegui, a CNN en Espanol TV news program.
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