8 September 2010

President Kirchner lunges for control of two leading newspapers; journalist slain

Argentine President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner has accused two leading newspapers of colluding with the military regime more than 30 years ago, and is now attempting to control the production and sale of newsprint, report the Inter American Press Association (IAPA) and the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ). There is a long history of press freedom feuds in Argentina. But the murder of journalists is rare. A Bolivian journalist who lived and worked in a shanty town in Buenos Aires was stabbed to death on 4 September, report the Foro de Periodismo Argentino (FOPEA) and Reporters Without Borders (RSF).

On 24 August, President Kirchner said the 1976 sale of a newsprint manufacturer to "Clarín" and "La Nación" newspapers was illegal because the owner was forced to make a deal under duress by the junta. The state is trying to draft legislation to declare newsprint supply a matter of public concern and subject to government regulation. The government is submitting a 400-page report, "Papel Prensa: The Truth," to the judiciary for a full investigation. Papel Prensa supplies newsprint to 170 dailies countrywide.

Kirchner's report came a week after her administration decided to cancel the license of Clarín's Internet service provider, Fibertel.

Journalists at "Clarín" and "La Nación" believe the government is attempting to intimidate and silence critics. However, journalists sympathetic to the government said the Papel Prensa investigation is necessary to establish the role of the media during the dictatorship, and said both "La Nación" and "Clarín" did not cover crimes committed against opponents during military rule.

A different sort of press freedom violation took place elsewhere in Buenos Aires. Adams Ledesma Valenzuela, a Bolivian social worker and journalist, was killed this week outside his home. Shortly after his body was found by his wife, she was threatened by unidentified individuals, saying: "Your husband is gone. The same thing is going to happen to you if you don't take your children and get out of here."

Ledesma Valenzuela ran Mundo TV Villa, a cable TV service for Bolivian, Paraguayan and Peruvian immigrant workers. He was also a correspondent for the free daily "Mundo Villa", which focuses on cultural and social issues. A colleague said the creation of these media had helped improve conditions for immigrant workers in shantytowns.

More from Argentina
  • INFORME 2017-2018 Observatorio y alerta laboral de periodistas (FOPEA)

    Crisis en los medios y situación laboral de los periodistas


    Autorregulación privada y su impacto en la libertad de expresión

  • Freedom on the Net 2017: Argentina

    At least three cyberattacks against digital media outlets were reported in early 2017. One of them was a Distributed Denial-of-Service attack against the news website Adelanto 24, which was taken offline in apparent retaliation for a publication on the army

At this point, would publish cover: "Home page"
IFEX is a global network of committed organisations working to defend and promote free expression.
Permission is granted for material on this website to be reproduced or republished in whole or in part provided the source member and/or IFEX is cited with a link to the original item.