Argentina

Aa

78th General Assembly

October 27 – 30, 2022

Madrid, Spain

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During this period there has been a deterioration in the conditions affecting the practice of journalism. The progress of the corruption cases against the Vice-President Cristina Kirchner increased the intensity of the "Lawfare" debate - an argument pushed by sectors of the ruling party that suggests a collusion between the critical press, part of the judiciary and members of the opposition.

The tone of the accusations increased following an attack on the Vice-President on September 1 - from the government's sectors as well as from journalists and media supporting the ruling party.

In addition, a dangerous campaign was launched against certain media and journalists trying to link them to the attack.

In the following days, bills were introduced which - claiming to fight against "hate speech" - advanced on the regulation of content and create censorship mechanisms. These initiatives were softened by leaders of the ruling party, but showed the authoritarian tendencies of several leaders of the governing coalition.

On October 11, a canvas sign appeared outside the offices of Telefé Rosario channel - in the city of Rosario - with the message: "we are going to kill journalists." This area of the province of Santa Fe has experienced an increase in crime linked to drug trafficking. This year, more than 200 people have been killed in clashes between criminal gangs. The threat poses a new challenge to press freedom organizations and the media, since the authorities do not have protection protocols for journalists, nor are there any specialized prosecutors' offices - and the media do not have security protocols.

Among the violent incidents during this period, was the shooting attacks of photojournalists Federico Soto - of La Mañana de Neuquén, and Patricio Rodríguez - of Río Negro, by a demonstrator of the Asociación de Trabajadores del Estado in the town of San Martín de los Andes, in Neuquén. Soto's camera recorded the moment when one of the shots was fired. Both journalists were unharmed.

Three weeks earlier, a cameraman from TyC Sports channel was hit three times with rubber bullets near the Gimnasia y Esgrima stadium in the city of La Plata - during an operation to suppress incidents involving fans of the local club.

In June, journalist George Chaya - an Infobae contributor - was threatened by the terrorist group Hezbollah.

In August, reporters from different news channels were physically and verbally attacked by demonstrators near the Government Palace.

In late April, there was concern over the call - by the Governor of La Rioja province - for a blockade on the Buenos Aires media across the Argentine northern provinces.

In early June, entities such as Adepa and Fopea criticized the lawsuits filed by congressman Javier Milei against journalists as being intolerant of criticism.

In September, a leaked audio was released in which Marcelo Saín - former Security Minister of the province of Santa Fe - is heard suggesting the convenience of fabricating a criminal charge against the owner of a local media group.

Also in September, the directors of the Catamarca province channel decided to cancel the program "Tirame un centro" (Throw me a center) - hosted by Silvio Iramain. In his last broadcast, the journalist had criticized certain aspects regarding the management of the Infrastructure Ministry.

In May, the attorney general of the province of San Luis rejected the appeal by journalist Diego Masci. The journalist was seeking a review of the conviction for violation of privacy - issued by the local court - for the publication of a video of former Education Minister Natalia Spinuzza. The case reflected the difficulties of journalism in that province - due to an abusive use of criminal law.

In June, the authorities of La Rioja province raided the home and seized the work equipment of journalist Manuela Calvo - who was investigating the disappearance of a minor.

In late June, the Supreme Court of Justice ruled on a petition for the "right to be forgotten" - overturning a House ruling that had recognized this right. Natalia Denegri sought the de-indexation of information related to her past. The highest court prioritized the right to freedom of expression over the plaintiff's claims. Adepa argued in favor of this position through an "amicus curiae" - supported by the IAPA - but warned about the damage caused by the opacity and dynamics of search engine algorithms in the public debate.

The shortage of dollars in the Argentine government's reserves prompted a series of restrictions on imports that affected access to paper, inks, plates and technological supplies, which hinders the printing of different products and generates uncertainty regarding the future of many media - an indirect limitation to freedom of expression; as described in Article 13 of the San José de Costa Rica Agreement.

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