The Liberalization Process of Satire in Postauthoritarian Democracies: Potentials and Limits in Mexico’s Network Television

Martín Echeverría, Frida V. Rodelo


The potential of television satire, an important means of denunciation of abuses of power and incompetence by politicians, can be limited in post-authoritarian democracies, where previous arrangements between political elites and media may hinder what satirists can say and to whom. Drawing from the literature on satire in post-authoritarian regimes and on the liberalization of Mexican media, we explain the surge of satire in Mexican broadcast television and its limits. A further qualitative analysis of 274 jokes uttered in satirical shows broadcast between 1995 and 2019 demonstrates that, while the liberalization process fostered satirical expressions about the abuse of power, incompetence, and frivolity of politicians, the remaining instrumentalization practices led to self-censorship, officialdom, and futile humor. Hence, we conclude that the political-economic conditions that played a part in the political transition influenced the scope of Mexican television satire.


transitional democracies; television satire; Mexico; political economy; political humor

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