Argentinian government gives media group deadline to break up under antitrust law

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  • September 25, 2012

By Gabriella Guajardo*

Argentina’s government said it would strip most of Grupo Clarín’s television licenses, a fact that citizens discovered through advertisements broadcasted during soccer games on Sept. 22, Bloomberg reported.

According to the Associated Press, Argentina’s government said Grupo Clarín, the country's largest media conglomerate, has until Dec. 7 to sell many of its broadcast stations. Government officials accuse the company of being a media monopoly.

An injunction granted by a judge to keep Grupo Clarín from falling apart after the original implementation of the 2009 Law on Audio-Visual Communications expires on Dec. 7, but the Supreme Court has still yet to decide on the constitutionality of the law’s anti-monopoly clauses, the Buenos Aires Herald reported.

According to another the Buenos Aires Herald article, pro-government individuals and supporters of the law believe Grupo Clarín has been allowed to “amass too much power” and “manipulate the news to wrestle favors from politicians when they are in offices.”

Bloomberg reported that Grupo Clarín has been battling the government since President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner’s deceased husband, former President Nestor Kirchner, made accusations about the group supporting farmers in a national strike over export taxes.

This time, Grupo Clarín says many scholars support the group's position in requesting one more year to continue its challenge before it is forced to comply with the 2009 Media Law on Dec. 7, Fox News Latino reported.

According to the Associated Press, Clarín has 240 cable networks, 10 radio licenses and four broadcast TV licenses, but under the terms of the new regulation, media companies are only able to have a maximum of 24 cable-television licenses and 10 broadcast radio and television licenses.

Gabriella Guajardo is a student in the class "Reporting Latin America" at the School of Journalism at the University of Texas at Austin.

Note from the editor: This story was originally published by the Knight Center’s blog Journalism in the Americas, the predecessor of LatAm Journalism Review.