Mexican politicians and conservative activists demanded television shows about the drugs trade not be shown before midnight as they spare impressionable young people from exposure to the gratuitous violence and lavish lifestyles of mafia kingpins, The Guardian reported on Wednesday.
They argue that shows such as Lord of the Skies, which dramatizes the life of Juárez cartel founder Amado Carillo Fuentes, and Queen of the South – the story of a fictional female kingpin – glorify crime at a time when the country is increasingly overwhelmed by drug-war violence.
The authorities should forbid television stations to “promote apologies for violence and make narco-trafficking and its activities appear aspirational as a lifestyle,”
the presidents of the radio, TV and cinema commissions of the senate and chamber of deputies said in a statement.
Zoé Robledo and Lía Limón accused the so-called narconovelas of weakening Mexico’s social fabric “by promoting false values and aggressive social behaviour, which provides regrettable feedback to organized crime”.
The call for a ban comes as Mexico approaches the 10th anniversary of the launch of a militarized crackdown on organized crime – a campaign that has cost an estimated 150,000 lives, left more than 25,000 missing but failed to impose the rule of law or slow down the drugs trade.
The move is not without precedent: some states and municipalities have approved ordinances banning narcocorridos – songs which lionize drug lords.
But Rodolfo Soriano-Núñez, an anthropologist in Mexico City, said that there is no evidence that such bans have any effect on behaviour. Such ordinances prove population with politicians, he said, “because it is easier to chase a singer than a narco”.
Mexico’s two biggest over-the- air networks – Televisa and TV Azteca – have long histories of producing and exporting steamy soap operas known as telenovelas but have steadily lost audiences in recent years as tastes change and Mexicans opt for other programming such as shows on streaming services and cable channels.
Mexican films such as El Infierno, Miss Bala and Heli have confronted the cost and carnage of the drug war – but most of the narco series are actually produced in the U.S. or Colombia, suggesting the appetite for shows based on unpleasant realities is still somewhat limited.
This week’s call for a ban came after a new network, Imagine Televisión, launched in October with a twice weekly prime time show on the drugs business named El Capo.