Monday, August 30, 2010

Contolling the Press

A recent article in Bloomberg News caught my eye.

Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner asked a court to review the 1976 acquisition of a newsprint producer by Grupo Clarin SA, the country’s largest media company, and other newspapers. Opposition leaders called it an attempt to silence critics.
Taking control of newsprint: Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner is looking to control the production, sale and distribution of newsprint, effectively silencing dissent—all in the name of public good.
Fernandez said late yesterday that she will also send a bill to Congress that would designate the production, sale and distribution of newsprint a “public interest” and subject the industry to regulations that would ensure all newspapers can buy paper at the same price and under similar terms.

If Fernandez succeeds, supplies of the newsprint needed to publish newspapers would be controlled by the government. Opposition lawmakers, including former Buenos Aires Governor Felipe Sola and Elisa Carrio, said Fernandez’s administration is trying to pressure the press for favorable coverage.

“The president just wants a press aligned with the government,” Carrio told reporters last night at Congress. “They want to stay in power, abolishing the press.”
That would be a step back for democracy, limiting the right of the people to voice views contrary to the sitting government. This move by the Argentinian government could set a dangerous precedent. Let's hope it proves a highly unpopular move.