Case 620/2003

Televisión Azteca, S.A. de C.V. (Amparo en revisión 620/2003), Suprema Corte de Justicia de la Nación [Supreme Court] (2004) (Mex.).
Download Judgment: Spanish
Country: Mexico
Region: Americas
Year: 2004
Court: Supreme Court of Justice of Mexico
Health Topics: Controlled substances, Tobacco
Human Rights: Right to due process/fair trial, Right to work
Tags: Tobacco control, Tobacco regulation

Petitioner, Televisión Azteca S.A, filed a Writ of Amparo challenging the constitutionality of article 308, section VI of the Public Health Law (broadcasting tobacco advertisements), alleging that it violated the right to work.

The section under scrutiny regulates alcoholic beverages and tobacco advertisements prohibiting the real or apparent ingestion or consumption of these products. In the case, Televisión Azteca was found responsible for broadcasting advertisement in violation of the regulation. Television Azteca argued that, first, Congress did not guarantee possible affected parties, at the time of the drafting of the Law, the opportunity to a hearing in order to file their defenses or pieces of evidence to show the unlawfulness of the regulation, as article 14 and 16 of the Mexican Constitution states. Second, the regulation from the Public Health Law under dispute constituted an illegal interference on their right to work because it impeded television networks to manage their television programs and advertisement without state interference (article 5 of the Mexican Constitution.

The case was sent to the Supreme Court after the High Administrative Court declared itself incompetent to hear the case.

The Court upheld the constitutionality of article 308, section VI of the Public Health Law and Televisión Azteca's liability for violating the law. The Court ruled that a right to a hearing is not guaranteed every time Congress passes a bill. In addition, the Court explained that it becomes impossible to notify beforehand every possible affected party by the law. As a consequence, the petitioner's claim for a hearing to submit arguments and evidence have been guaranteed during the administrative process. Finally, regarding the right to work, the Court held that such right can be subjected to social welfare and public interest restrictions. In this sense, such interests must prevail over the right to work whenever it involves products that might be consumed excessively, like tobacco, which may cause a large variety of diseases to society.

"Que no existe violación a la garantía consagrada por el artículo 5 de la Constitución Política de los Estados
Unidos Mexicanos, porque la libertad de trabajo debe cumplir con tres condiciones: 1ª. Que la actividad sea
lícita. 2ª. Que no se afecte derechos de terceros y 3ª. Que no se afecten los derechos de la sociedad en
general, ya que sobre la libertad de trabajo prevalece el bienestar social y es de interés general regular la
publicidad que en los medios de comunicación se difunda, sobre todo cuando se trata de productos que
de ser consumidos de manera excesiva pueden llegar a causar problemas de salud a las personas."