Home page - World Report
Freedom of information has enjoyed legislative progress in recent years but still suffers from a climate of mutual hostility between the government and state-owned media on the one hand and certain privately-owned media on the other, as well as a recent increase in attacks on journalists.
Since the return to democracy in 1983, journalists have enjoyed considerable freedom of expression and a solid legal basis for their work. Nonetheless, sources of concern continue to exist for freedom of information.
There has been an increase in cases of intimidation and attacks by local authorities against journalists in connection with their editorial policies, especially in the provinces. In Buenos Aires, reporters are often the victims of police violence during demonstrations. Although cases of direct violence against journalists are rare compared with other countries in the region, they often go unpunished.
Meanwhile there has been great deal of tension for the past decade between the government and those media that oppose “Kirchnerism.” Cristina Kirchner has given few press conferences since becoming president in 2007, thereby eluding embarrassing questions on such issues as inflation, alleged government corruption and an increase in crime.
The tension has been aggravated by the Law on Broadcasting Communication Services (SCA), a media law adopted in 2009 but still not fully implemented. Its biggest opponent is the Clarín media group, which would be forced to surrender some of its broadcasting licences and frequencies. It has increased polarization between state and privately-owned media and has fuelled a climate of mutual hostility that affects journalists, since many of them are often harassed in connection their editorial policies.
Although criticized by privately-owned media, the SCA law represents a step forward for pluralism. It aims to prevent media ownership from being concentrated in too few hands by guaranteeing a better distribution between state media, privately-owned media and community media.
The decriminalization of media offences is another example of legislative progress. A reform of the penal code in 2009 eliminated any possibility of prison sentences being applied in cases of insult or defamation.
Updated in July 2013
Argentina - 6 January 2014
Argentina - 13 December 2013
Argentina - 30 October 2013