A police investigation uncovered that an employee of private television station Televisa, together with politicians, was involved in an elaborate scheme to harass critical media outlets, the Mexican digital news outlet SinEmbargo revealed Monday.
A dossier prepared by the Scientific Unit of the Federal Police states that Juan Carlos Zaragoza Rios, an employee of the Mexican TV giant Televisa, harassed journalists and politicians using social media and false identities. As part of their investigation, the Federal Police used wiretaps on Zaragoza and his associates, which revealed some of the efforts to smear news outlets and politicians.
According to the report by the online news outlet, Zaragoza worked together with politicians and political aides to harass, intimidate, and defame critical news outlets such as SinEmbargo and Aristegui News.
The investigation revealed that Zaragoza collaborated with at least two politicians, Adrian Rubalcava Suarez, an incoming lawmaker for the legislature of Mexico City, and the former governor of Veracruz, Fidel Herrera Beltran.
One method allegedly used by Zaragoza involved posing as a lawyer in order to demand that compromising photos of politicians be taken down. Zaragoza would falsely claim that the photos were the intellectual property of his clients and would threaten legal action against those who refused to remove the photos.
In another example, Zaragoza is caught on tape coaching a minor to accuse an official with the Institutional Revolutionary Party of having drugged, raped, and infected him with HIV.
SinEmbargo specified that although Zaragoza works for Televisa, there was no evidence suggesting his superiors knew of his actions. The police dossier has not been acted upon by the Office of the Public Prosecutor. SinEmbargo reported that the first official tasked with follow-up on the case has been linked to alleged corruption.
SinEmbargo has called on the Special Prosecutor's Office for Crimes Against the Freedom of Expression to immediately act on the allegations.