Argentina II

WHEREAS the controversial Law on Audiovisual Communication Services, adopted in September last year in a passage denounced as unlawful, has been suspended due to a number of rulings by the Argentine courts WHEREAS these court rulings suspended the application of the measure because of both the wrongdoing in its passage and several constitutional rights being considered to have been violated, among them those of freedom of the press and of expression, right to ownership, free choice on the part of consumers and the guarantee of equality under the law WHEREAS as the IAPA has expressed, this measure limits freedom of expression in giving wide and discretional powers to the Executive Branch concerning the media and content, favoring the official voices and undermining the sustainability of those that are privately owned, fostering the disappearance of independent broadcasting and establishing dangerous criteria of indirect censorship through arbitrary grant of licenses and application of sanctions WHEREAS despite there having been five rulings against the new media law made by federal courts in Buenos Aires, Mendoza, Salta and San Juan (two of them suspending it entirely), the government has sought to go ahead with its implementation in an authoritarian and dominating manner WHEREAS disobeying the legal suspension of the law the government issued a series of resolutions deriving from this law, in which it sought to move ahead on configuring a related media map, among them a census of audiovisual services and creation of a register of broadcast outlets, even though they are not on-air WHEREAS the government continues to working on its strategy to move ahead on control of audiovisual media WHEREAS principle 7 of the Declaration of Chapultepec states “Tariff and exchange policies, licenses for the importation of paper or news-gathering equipment, the assigning of radio and television frequencies and the granting or withdrawal of government advertising may not be used to reward or punish the media or individual journalists” THE IAPA MIDYEAR MEETING RESOLVES to urge the Argentine government to respect the applicable court rulings that suspend the new Law on Audiovisual Communication Services in a clear demonstration of recognition of the division of the branches of government to urge the Executive Branch not to go ahead with the implementation and application of a measure that has been suspended due to wrongdoing in its passage and to its undermining in its content constitutional rights such as freedom of expression, the right to ownership, equality under the law and consumers’ freedom of choice to ask the Argentine Congress to amend said law, questioned by the courts, fostering debate on an audiovisual media measure that would include an in-depth review of its contents, with the contribution of all sectors involved, and that it seeks to harmoniously articulate key democratic values, such as freedom of expression, and the independence, sustainability and diversity of the media and not the use of discretionary powers by the government in its application.