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Global Editors Network calls for heightened scrutiny of Argentina's attacks on independent media

The Global Editors Network (GEN) released a statement on its website calling attention to the Argentine government's attacks against the press in what it described as a "press freedom crisis." GEN warned that the government's intentions to break up Grupo Clarín and seize its assets on Dec. 7 is a threat to press freedom in Latin America.

Argentina's President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner confirmed her intention to revoke media giant Grupo Clarín's licenses and take control of its assets, reported the newspaper La Nación. The Kirchner administration gave Grupo Clarín until Dec. 7 to sell its many television stations or be stripped of its broadcast license, the government announced via public television on Sept. 22.

“The attack on Clarin is symbolic of the political pressure which media are facing throughout the region,” GEN said in its online statement. GEN alleged that government's 450 legal and administrative actions, blockages and intimidation constitute a strategy of harassment against Grupo Clarín. GEN wrote that the lack of independent media in Argentina was especially evident when Clarín was the only major media outlet to cover national protests against the government on Sept. 13.

The media conglomerate has feuded with the government since Fernández de Kirchner's late husband and predecesor, Nestor Kirchner, was in office, according to Bloomberg.

GEN, based in Paris, is made up of journalists from 60 countries and is lead by Ricardo Kirschbaum, general editor of the newspaper Clarín, reported the newspaper La Gaceta.

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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