Mexico Supreme Court backs watchdog's power to rule in TV dispute

by Reuters
Tuesday, 18 February 2014 04:05 GMT

MEXICO CITY, Feb 17 (Reuters) - Mexico's top court on Monday said the country's new phone and television regulator has power to enforce rules that were laid out in a constitutional reform approved last year, according to a statement from the President's office.

Mexico's President Enrique Pena Nieto last week asked the Supreme Court to intervene after a legal battle in a lower court between broadcaster Televisa and satellite pay-television provider Dish Mexico forced Mexico's new telecommunications regulator to suspend a decision.

The Federal Telecommunications Institute (IFT) had said a Mexico City judge forced it to halt a planned decision on enforcing an element of last year's telecom reform known as 'must carry, must offer'.

The Supreme Court on Monday suspended that lower court's ruling, freeing up the IFT to make its decision while the top court assesses and rules in detail on the full powers of the regulator that were set out in last year's reform.

The reform, which was designed to increase competition in Mexico's broadcast, telephone and internet businesses, says pay-television operators must carry public broadcast channels, and the broadcasters must offer their signals to pay-TV companies.

"The constitution says that the appropriate authority in this matter is the (IFT), which means that its authority cannot be ignored by any other public entity," the Supreme Court said, according to the statement.

Dish Mexico is a venture between satellite company Echostar and Mexican media company MVS.

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