Over the weekend, President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner signed a government-backed bill into law that restricts the number of media outlets companies can own in a single market. The law also requires 70 percent of radio and 60 percent of television content to be produced in Argentina. It further directs cable television companies to carry channels operated by nongovernmental organizations, universities and indigenous groups and calls for select companies to sell some of their media assets within a year.
Critics say the law will give the government too much control over the press. The Vienna-based International Press Institute said the law will damage press freedom in Argentina and is specifically concerned about the power the government now has to grant licenses to radio and television stations. On Sunday, the country’s largest media company, Grupo Clarin, said it plans to challenge the law in court. Clarin’s media outlets are widely considered to be critical of the president, who in campaigning for the bill said Clarin held 73 percent of Argentina’s cable, telephone and cable licenses.
Supporters, on the other hand, celebrated the reversal of a dictatorship-era (1976–1983) law that allowed for media monopolies.