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Despite pending lawsuits, new Argentine audiovisual law to go into effect

Argentina's President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner published on Wednesday, Sept. 1, a decree (PDF file) that outlines regulations implementing the Audiovisual Media law. The law limits the number of radio and television licenses that can be granted to the same company, and will be enforced immediately, said Gabriel Mariotto, the director of the Federal Authority of Audiovisual Communication Services, in an interview with the official news agency Télam.

However, the newspaper Clarín reporter, the application of the law is suspended because of various legal actions filed by major Argentine media groups. Clarín would be one of the big losers under the new law, as it would have to give up several of its licenses. The new law prohibits companies from owning more than 10 radio and television stations with national reach, and it prevents the ownership of both a broadcast and cable channel in the same location.

The Supreme Court still has not ruled on two of the most controversial articles of the law, including the one that forces communication businesses to get rid of the excess licenses within a year, explained La Nación. The law is just one of the contentious points in the growing conflict between the Argentine government and the main media companies in the country.

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.

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