09 March 2015
WHEREAS the Argentine government continues to increase its arbitrary model of distribution of official advertising, ignoring rulings by the Supreme Court that require it to do so respecting objective and reasonable criteria so as not to limit freedom of expression. WHEREAS public funds allocated to this end continue to multiply, which according to official figures in 2014 amounted to 3.9 billion pesos (some $450 million at the official exchange rate), which had never been seen before in the market, and the situation is repeated in numerous provincial and municipal jurisdictions. WHEREAS official advertising continues to be used as a weapon of indirect censorship through a system that awards media that publishes the official discourse and punishes those that investigate or question the government; with the result that, for example, a media group favorable to anyone in power receives almost 70 million pesos (more than $8 million), while independent groups receive almost nothing. WHEREAS These types of indirect limitations on the freedom of expression are also expressed by way of the selective application by the Executive Branch, of regulations such as the Audiovisual Communcations Law, applying different standards depending on the type of media concerned; WHEREAS these attitudes openly and directly violate the Pact of San José, Costa Rica and Article 7 of the Declaration of Chapultepec, which 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. WHEREAS Principle 5 of the Declaration of Chapultepec states: “Prior censorship, restrictions on the circulation of the media or dissemination of their reports, forced publication of information, the imposition of obstacles to the free flow of news, and restrictions on the activities and movements of journalists directly contradict freedom of the press.” THE IAPA MIDYEAR MEETING RESOLVES To urge the Argentine government to cease its discriminatory practices on the subject of the allocation of official advertising, respecting objective and equitable criteria and abstaining from using public funds as a system of reward and punishment. To insist that the federal government comply with the rulings of the Argentine Supreme Court that state that the distribution of official advertising in a manner consistent with the freedom of expression. To reiterate to the Argentine Congress the need to enact a law that, in line with international standards, regulates the placement of official advertising in an equitable and objective manner. To request that provincial and municipal administrations comply with the same standards in their respective jurisdictions. To request equal and neutral application of laws and regulations from state bodies in relation to communications media, with the purpose of preventing their use as an indirect censorship tool.