RSF warns against concentration of media ownership under new legal framework

20 April, 2016 / By Buenos Aires Herald

The Reporters Sans Frontières (RSF) international organization questioned the abrogation of Argentina’s media law decided by the administration of President Mauricio Macri, warning the new legislation that creates the Enacom agency “favours” concentration of media ownership in the country.

In its annual Press Freedom Index report, the France-based international group ranked Argentina 57th, improving its position from 54 to 57, but highlighted the amendments to the Audiovisual Communications Services Act – passed by Congress during the Cristina Fernández de Kirhcner administration in 2009 -, might “result in a higher concentration of media ownership.”

“Argentina’s warring media have long been polarized between those owned by the state and those owned by the private sector. The 2009 media law, which encouraged pluralism and provided for a better distribution of frequencies between state, privately-owned and community media, was immediately modified when Mauricio Macri became president in 2015,” the report says.

“The new legislation will probably result in a greater concentration of media ownership, especially in the hands of the Clarín media group, which had to surrender some of its broadcast frequencies after a long legal battle during Cristina Kirchner’s second term as president.”

The Press Freedom Index is an annual ranking of countries compiled and published by RSF based upon the organization’s assessment of the countries’ press freedom records in the previous year.

“It is a picture of the situation of press freedom, based on the assessment of pluralism, independence of media, legal framework quality and reporters’ security in the countries,” the organization explains.

The 2016 Press Freedom Index has Finland ( 8.59 points) at the top, followed by the Netherlands (8.76 points), Norway (8.79 points), Denmark (8.89 points) and New Zealand (10.01 points). In the Americas, Costa Rica is ranked 6th, Jamaica 10th and Canada 18th. Uruguay is at the position 20, Chile 31 and the United States 41.

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