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Report: Presence and image of Mexico in Spain

Actualizado: 30 nov 2020

Observatorio De México En España [Observatory of Mexico in Spain] *

National political issues, marked by violence in the country, the López Obrador government and corruption are the ones that most determine Mexico’s image projected in the Spanish press. This is one of the conclusions of the report Presence and image of Mexico in the Spanish press 2019 published by Dr José Ramón Santillán Buelna and Dr Alberto Zuart Garduño, members of the Observatorio De México En España [Observatory of Mexico in Spain], a research center based in Barcelona that studies the country image, the projection of soft power and Mexican migration in Spain. The editing was coordinated by Dr Kenia del Orbe, professor at the Rey Juan Carlos University in Madrid.

The report develops an empirical investigation on the coverage and informative management of the presence of Mexico in three Spanish newspapers: La Vanguardia, El País and El Mundo; reference newspapers for their ability to create trends and opinions. A content analysis was carried out on 620 news items published in the three media during the year 2019.

Other results of the study to highlight are: a) news production about Mexico is concentrated in El País, out of every 10 news items, five are published by this newspaper, three by La Vanguardia and two by El Mundo; b) Correspondents sign 65.5% of the news and agencies 30%; c) 71.15% of the events that are covered take place in Mexico, being Mexico City as the informative epicentre; and d) politicians are the main news actors.

The investigation also concludes that during 2019 the topics that most interested the Spanish press were: violence, AMLO's government, corruption and migrant caravan (national policy); relationship with the United States, Spain, Bolivia and Venezuela (foreign policy); cinema and literature, tourism, science and technology, gastronomy (culture); and investments in Mexico from both the United States and Spain (economy/business).

The analysis of the journalistic assessment of the image of Mexico indicates that it was more negative (47.5%) than positive (35.8%). When analysed by areas, unfavourable values prevail for the national policy dimension, which accounts for half of the news about the country in Spanish newspapers. Favourable values are related to the fields in culture, economy and foreign policy.

Finally, the report makes important recommendations to improve Mexico's international image, among which are:

- The negative image of Mexico is not just a matter of information, but of solving structural problems such as violence, insecurity, corruption and governing efficiently.

- The informative coverage of Mexico made by the Spanish press must contribute to give a neutral, impartial image of the country, based on professionalism and informative plurality, without reproducing stereotypes or simplifications.

- Appoint or create a Secretary of State as the coordinating authority and establish an international spokesperson in charge of disseminating information in international media.

- Take advantage of the migrant community - students, academics, writers, businessmen, Mexican associations who transmit positive values such as talent, professionalism and work; and help to build a positive perception of the country.


Presencia e imagen de México en la prensa española de referencia. Santillán, J.R y Alberto Zuart Garduño. Informe de investigación 2. Observatorio de México en España. 2020. España.

* Research center based in Barcelona that studies the Mexico’s image, the projection of soft power and Mexican migration in Spain. www.obsmex Twitter: @obsmexesp

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