World Report - Argentina
|Publisher||Reporters Without Borders|
|Publication Date||5 January 2010|
|Cite as||Reporters Without Borders, World Report - Argentina , 5 January 2010, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4b7aa9c2c.html [accessed 21 May 2013]|
|Disclaimer||This is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.|
- Area: 2,780,400 sq. km
- Population: 39,134,000
- Language: Spanish
- Head of state: Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, since December 2007
Relations remain tense between a section of the privately-owned press and President Cristina Fernández but 2009 has seen significant legislative progress for the Argentine media. A law restricting the concentration of media ownership in a few hands has just been passed, replacing a broadcasting law that was adopted during the military dictatorship. Defamation has also been decriminalised.
Relations continue to be strained between some of the privately-owned media and President Cristina Fernández, whose husband and predecessor, Nestor Kirchner, refused to give a single press conference throughout his time in office (2003-2007). His cold-shoulder was chiefly reserved for the daily La Nación, which was open in its opposition to "Kirchnerism."
It is the leading press group, Clarín, that is above all affected by the new law on Audiovisual Communication Services (SCA) limiting the concentration of media ownership, which is excessive in Argentina. The new law, which was strongly backed by President Fernández, replaces a broadcasting law known as "22.285" that was adopted in September 1980, during the military dictatorship. Amendments to "22.285" after the return to democracy in 1983 reduced government control over programme content but made increased concentration of ownership possible.
Cases of pressure being brought to bear by federal authorities have fuelled tension between the press and the presidential palace. But most cases of harassment and intimidation of journalists have involved provincial media that have raised issues that are embarrassing for governors. Provincial media tend to be rewarded or punished for their editorial policies by means of a politicised distribution of state advertising. Direct violence against the media is rare compared with other countries in the region, but cases too often go unpunished. A draft resolution on the safety of journalists submitted to the lower house of the federal congress in October 2008 by Diana Conti, a pro-Kirchner parliamentarian, has still not been adopted.
The federal senate's unanimous adoption on 19 November 2009 of an amendment eliminating any possibility of prison sentences for defamation and insult was a major legislative advance for the media. Proposed by President Fernández, the amendment had previously been approved by the chamber of deputies on 28 October.