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Mexico: Consensus on Disapproval of TV Series: ‘The Team’

Under the production of Pedro Torres [es], the Mexican television giant, the television series called “The Team” (“El Equipo” in Spanish) aired on May 9, 2011 during prime time, narrating fictional stories of triumph and heroism of the elite officers of the Federal Police.

The presentation of the series (filmed in collaboration with the Federal Police and the Secretariat of Public Security, whose commanding officer is Genaro Garcia Luna) generated abundant reactions from the Mexican public for whom this topic is sensitive. The public are highly aware of every activity or announcement from the public administration and armed forces, in the midst of the war the government has waged against organised crime. [See the Global Voices special coverage page on this topic].

Federal Police, Mexico. Image by Flickr user Jesús Villaseca P (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0).

Federal Police, Mexico. Image by Flickr user Jesús Villaseca P (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0).

With this in mind, blogger and opinion leader Sopitas [es] showed his discomfort with the fact that the current problems faced by the country in terms of violence are captured in a melodrama, and at the same time infers the objective of broadcasting a work of this nature:

La verdad es que, incluso desde un punto de vista exterior y parcial, resulta muy incómodo ver problemas reales que azotan furiosamente al país como parte de la trama de una telenovela que mezcla en sus entrañas toda clase de estrategias de mercadotecnia. Sin embargo, ya poniéndonos desde una postura crítica, tal parece que buscaba ser una forma fácil de renovar la fe y la credibilidad del pueblo en la Policía Federal. Es decir, una estrategia para legitimar una guerra que cada vez más ven como injusta por medio de un producto que el pueblo consume diariamente sin muchos ánimos de crítica: las telenovelas.

Truthfully, even from an outside and partial perspective, it is very uncomfortable to see real problems that furiously batter the country as part of the plot of a television series, with every manner of marketing strategy in the mix. However, looking at it under a critical light, they seem to have found an easy way to reestablish faith and credibility in the Federal Police. In other words, it's a strategy to validate a war that they see as more and more unjust through a product consumed daily by the people without much vantage point for criticism: television series.

Ciudadano X [es], for Ciberpolitica, thinks similarly in his post titled “Why should Garcia Luna quit?”:

En tercer lugar, no hay que olvidar las tristemente célebres “Producciones García Luna”, que muestran que el citado funcionario está más interesado en presentar una imagen favorable en los medios que en desempeñar sus funciones con eficacia. ¿Y qué han logrado? Debido a su torpeza, sólo han servido como apologías del delito (como la cínica presentación de “La Barbie”). Peor aún: gracias a sus estupideces (por que no tiene otro nombre) estuvo a punto de escaparse la secuestradora Florence Cassez.

La última de las Producciones , “El Equipo” es un auténtico insulto a los televidentes, ya de por sí impunemente maltratados por Televisa.

Thirdly, one shouldn't forget the sadly popular “Garcia Luna Productions”, which showed the aforementioned official is more interested in presenting a favourable image in the media than executing his duties efficiently. And what have they achieved? Due to their incompetence, they have been served as apologies for crime (as in the satirical presentation of  “la Barbie”). Even worse: thanks to his stupidity (there is no other word for it) the kidnapper Florence Cassez almost escaped.

The last production, “The Team” is an authentic insult to viewers, already so liberally maltreated by Televisa.

On the other hand, Pepe Flores [es], for Vivir Mexico, bluntly pointed out what he perceived as the goal of the television series and the reaction of the audience:

Señalada como un esfuerzo promocional para justificar la estrategia bélica de la Guerra contra el Narcotráfico, el programa fue denostado por mostrar una visión propagandística.

Revealed as a promotional tool to justify the militant strategy of the War against Drug trafficking, the programme was reviled for showing a propagandist view.

Furthermore, the referred author summarised the statement of a journalist who explained the reason why “The Team” will stop airing in the next few days:

De acuerdo con el periodista Jorge Carrasco, altos mandos de las Fuerzas Armadas mexicanas vieron con desagrado cómo el titular de la Secretaría de Seguridad Pública se hacía publicidad a través de la serie de TV.

I agree with reporter Jorge Carrasco, high officials of the Mexican Armed Forces saw with displeasure how the Secretariat of Public Security advertised itself through a TV series.

This position is shared by journalist and blogger Jenaro Villamil [es], who additionally made reference to the viewership that the series reached:

No le gustó al ejército, menos a los legisladores federales y una buena parte de la audiencia la vio como un híbrido de melodrama con programa de acción que no alcanzó a cuajar. Incluso, las redes sociales -en especial Twitter- no la bajaron de serie chafa realizada para beneficiar a un impugnado Genaro García Luna.

Finalmente, la telenovela El Equipo, financiada y apoyada logísticamente por la Secretaría de Seguridad Pública, dejará de transmitirse el viernes 27 de mayo por una razón fundamental: no pudo remontar su bajo rating, a pesar de ser transmitida en el horario estelar de las 22:00 a las 22:30 horas en el Canal 2.

The army didn't like it, much less federal legislators and a good part of the audience saw it as a hybrid of melodrama and action series that never worked out. Even social networks, especially Twitter, rate it as a shoddy series made to the benefit of Genaro Garcia Luna.

Finally, the series “The Team”, financed and supported logistically by the Secretariat of Public Security, will stop airing on Friday, May 27 for one simple reason: the ratings were very low despite being aired in prime time from 10:00 to 10:30 on Channel 2.

Beyond the end of the television series in question, Animal Politico [es] makes reference to the political and legal repercussions which the Secretariat of Public Security could face regarding the controversial show:

A tres días del estreno de la serie, El PRD [Partido de la Revolución Democrática] en la Cámara de Diputados presentó una denuncia ante la Secretaría de la Función Pública (SFP) contra García Luna, para indagar presuntas irregularidades al permitir que se utilizara equipo y se exhibieran estrategias públicas contra la delincuencia en la serie de televisión “El Equipo”.

La vocera de la bancada, Leticia Quezada (@Leticia_Quezada), entregó la denuncia, argumentando que se usaron instalaciones de la SSP que están catalogadas como estratégicas y de seguridad nacional. Además que se permitió el acceso de personal ajeno a la dependencia y se ha utilizado armamento y helicópteros de la dependencia.

Three days after the premier of the series, the PRD [Party of the Democratic Revolution] in the Chamber of Deputies filed a complaint before the Secretariat of Public Service (SFP) against Garcia Luna, to make inquiries about alleged irregularities by permitting the use of equipment and exposing public strategies against delinquency in the television series “The Team”.

Spokeswoman Leticia Quezada (@Leticia Quezada) handed in the complaint, arguing that SSP [Secretariat of Public Security] facilities catalogued as strategic and of national security were used. Moreover, personal access to outside personnel was permitted as well as the use of arms and helicopters from these facilities.

A sensitive and controversial issue, that apparently has generated consensus among the blogging community, something difficult to achieve among a citizenry that finds itself immersed in a war with conflicting views.

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