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Mexico: New city constitution protects art, culture and free speech

The Constituent Assembly of the Mexican capital has embarked on a project to create its first constitution and has approved a new article in which art, culture and education will be protected and granted by authorities. The article states that cultural diversity and freedom of expression must be respected and censorship will not be applied. The new constitution will carry language that strongly promotes the creation of art and culture and protects artists, reported El Economista on 9 January 2017.

Article 13 aims to reduce the educational and cultural gap of the population by guaranteeing quality access to culture and obligatory scholarship up to higher education, regardless of a person’s ethnic or economic situation.


The article also outlines cultural improvements, such as that everyone will be granted the right to access culture without restrictions; choose a cultural identity, being able to express it and being respected for it; freely participate in cultural life in public spaces; start cultural projects; elaborate cultural policies; and enjoy the freedom of creation, opinion and information.


Through the article, the city also aims to preserve material and immaterial cultural heritage; support self-managing, communitarian and independent cultural initiatives; and provide fiscal incentives for the development of culture.


Furthermore, the Constituent Assembly has emphasized freedom of speech and provisions against censorship within the constitution. Article 13 also encompasses the protection of academic freedom, scientific freedom, technological freedom, cultural freedom, creative freedom and the free discussion of ideas. Freedom of the press was guaranteed under Article 12.

Optimism for a new constitution

In recent years, Mexico City’s government has been approving a wave of liberal laws, gaining recognition as one of the most advanced cities in terms of human rights in Mexico and Latin-America.


The reason for great optimism around the new constitution is that the document isn’t just a series of good intentions, but rather also a document that includes legal mechanisms so that citizens can demand the fulfillment of their rights.


The new constitution, apart for including some rights that are already in place, adds several other rights, including: the right to euthanasia, protection for immigrants, protection for journalists, right to public protest, right to internet access, ban of water privatization, LGTB marriage and adoption, and the creation of an anti-corruption system, among many others.


By contrast, other Mexican legislations are choosing to ban certain artistic expressions, as in the case of the state of Sinaloa or the city of Chihuahua, which have decided to restrict narcocorridos and the movimiento alterado sub-genres of the northern Mexican ballad because their lyrics glorify drug kingpins and their exploits.

New constitution project

On 29 January 2016, as part of a series of local political reforms, the Mexican capital ceased to be called a Distrito Federal (Federal District) and is now transitioning to fully become the country’s 32 federal entity (without being a state, like the other 31 federal entities, due to a provision clause in the national constitution). Once the constitution is released, the new administrative status will give the city new juridical and political autonomy.


The city’s constitution is being discussed and approved by the Constituent Assembly, which was elected in June 2016 and is comprised of 100 members:  60 of whom were elected by popular vote, six appointed by the Mexican president, six more by the city mayor, and 28 appointed by both the Mexican Senate and House of Representatives.

Source: Freemuse