Are Mexico's Student Leaders from YoSoy132 Selling out to Televisa?

Remember that scene in Return of the Jedi, where Darth Vader tells Luke Skywalker to give himself over to the dark side? ["It is the only way to save your friends," Darth tells Luke]

Something similar may have happened to members of Mexico's YoSoy132 student movement, who will now host a talk show on Televisa, the powerful TV network that YoSoy132 has been protesting against for the past five months.

Topping the list of alleged "sell outs," is Antonio Attolini, a Political Science Student at Mexico's ITAM University, who had become one of the group's most visible spokesmen over the past few months.

His decision to join the new Televisa program that airs on Sunday, has sparked a lively debate in which participants are asking if Mexico's largest TV corporation is becoming more pluralistic, or if it is simply implementing the decades old strategy of co-opting critics and slowly bringing them into its fold.

Televisa controls up to 80 percent of Mexico's TV market and has been accused by the YoSoy132 movement of undermining Mexican democracy, by failing to take a critical stance on politicians from Mexico's old-ruling party the PRI.

In the run up to Mexico's recent presidential elections, British newspaper The Guardian published a series of investigative articles which suggested that Televisa sold favorable news coverage to Mexican President-elect, Enrique Peña Nieto.

Televisa denies such accusations, and Attolini claims that he will continue to criticize the network on its brand new show. He sees the new program as a bigger platform where he can advocate for the same issues he was talking about in street protests staged by YoSoy132.

But Alfredo Dominguez, a Sociology Professor at the University of Itzapalapa, has a different take on the new Televisa program. He said that Attolini and his colleagues have made a "naïve decision."

"This allows Televisa to cleanse itself, to say, look, we are so democratic, that we even opened a space to our toughest critics," Dominguez told ABC/Univision.

The new TV show will be called "Sin Filtro," Spanish for without a filter. It will be set up as a round-table in which six college students and a moderator discuss current events.

In the show's trailer, which was released on Youtube this week, moderator Genaro Lozano invites viewers to tune in, so they can "listen to the opinions, the doubts, and the independent criticism of a group of young university students."

But criticism has poured on Attolini and the five other students who have joined the show.

"Antonio Attolini is a sell out, an opportunist and a traitor," wrote Azeneht, a twitter user who sympathizes with YoSoy 132.

"We consider that his participation in the program delays the process to democratize media. It perpetuates the power to inform in a few hands, by creating a false sensation that the most powerful media [in Mexico] are pluralistic," read a statement by the YoSoy132 chapter at Mexico's ITAM university, where Attolini is currently studying.

Attolini told Univision News that he was offered a stipend for his participation in the new program, but rejected the money because it was not his objective to earn more cash.

The program according to Attolini, was not part of a strategy by Televisa to co-opt its opposition, but came about as part of an alliance between Televisa's news division and Foreign Affairs magazine.

Televisa President Emilio Azcarraga also weighed in on the debate, striking back at critics of the powerful network through his Twitter account.

"When we are open [they criticize Televisa] because we are open." Azcarraga tweeted. "When we are not open [to critical viewpoints, they criticize Televisa] because we don't open. I am in favor of aperture," Azcarraga said.

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