Argentina I

WHEREAS in the past year the official and semi-official news media system has grown exponentially, financed by the discretionary use of public funds; and WHEREAS the use of state-owned media as governmental propaganda tools, without criteria that ensure neutrality of information nor plurality of opinions, and on many occasions as an instrument to stigmatize other institutional players, including media and journalists; and WHEREAS there has again been an exponential increase in expenditure on official advertising, which continues to be distributed without clear rules nor objective parameters, operating as a system to reward or punish media outlets depending on whether or not they are editorially aligned with the government ; and WHEREAS the recent creation of a state-owned digital TV system is part of this trend to strengthen the official communications infrastructure, having been implemented so far in favor of those voices close to the powers-that-be; and WHEREAS despite several of its clauses having been suspended by the courts the government has moved ahead with the enactment of the Law on Audiovisual Communication Services in an even more interventionist spirit, which gives it greater discretionary powers and control over licenses and content than in the actual legal wording 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 GENERAL ASSEMBLY RESOLVES to hail the advances made in the Argentine National Congress in pursuit of passage of a bill to regulate official advertising, with objective provisions that include criteria concerning efficiency, impartiality and pluralism on the matter, and to urge the various political forces to promptly adopt said law; to ask the Argentine National Congress to amplify debate and pass legal framework concerning publicly-owned media that ensures unchanging criteria of editorial independence, plurality of information, ideological diversity and professional trustworthiness in the operation of its content; to urge the Argentine Executive Branch to put into practice mechanisms to prevent the partisan or sectarian use of the state-owned media, preventing their use as agencies of governmental dissemination and stigmatizing of other sectors of society;