Prominent Mexican Journalist And Government Critic Says President's Office Backed Her Firing

Mexican journalist Carmen Aristegui speaks to the press in Mexico City on March 16, 2015 a day after being fired. Aristegui,
Mexican journalist Carmen Aristegui speaks to the press in Mexico City on March 16, 2015 a day after being fired. Aristegui, an influential Mexican broadcast journalist whose report about the first lady's mansion caused a scandal was sacked Sunday, sparking anger among supporters who called her firing an affront to freedom of speech. Aristegui had been publicly feuding with her employer, MVS Radio, in recent days after two of her investigative reporters were fired by the company. AFP PHOTO / RONALDO SCHEMIDT (Photo credit should read RONALDO SCHEMIDT/AFP/Getty Images)

(In paragraph 7, corrects spelling of MVS spokesman to Chao)

MEXICO CITY, March 19 (Reuters) - A Mexican journalist fired from her popular radio show after helping uncover a conflict of interest scandal that embarrassed President Enrique Pena Nieto said on Thursday that she believes his office backed her dismissal.

Speaking to a packed room of reporters, Carmen Aristegui urged her former employer, MVS Radio, to reinstate her and colleagues dismissed last week after a row over their support for a platform aimed at uncovering public sector corruption.

This week, the interior ministry urged MVS and Aristegui, a prominent government critic, to resolve their differences. But when asked if she believed her dismissal had been orchestrated by Pena Nieto's office, the 51-year-old said:

"It looks that way because I can't imagine something of this magnitude without at least some kind of consent from the highest presidential power."

Last year, Aristegui's investigative team at MVS revealed Pena Nieto and his wife had bought or used homes owned by a major government contractor, sparking a series of other revelations that have embarrassed his government.

The president has said he acted properly and broke no laws.

Speaking about an hour after Aristegui, MVS Radio spokesman Felipe Chao told reporters she would not be reinstated.

"Our relationship has ended. We wish you well," he said, referring to Aristegui.

MVS Radio last week fired two members of her team on the grounds they had backed new online news platform Mexicoleaks in the name of the company without prior authorization.

Aristegui demanded the two journalists be reinstated, sparking a stand-off with MVS which culminated with her dismissal from the radio station on Sunday.

Critics of Pena Nieto leapt on her removal as evidence that he was cracking down on a dissenting voice in a country where politicians enjoy considerable impunity and are rarely subject to serious scrutiny from much of the mainstream media.

"We want to return to broadcasting so that we can continue producing journalism and continue providing a service to Mexican society," Aristegui said. (Reporting by Gabriel Stargardter and David Alire Garcia; Editing by Dave Graham, Robert Birsel)

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