Political Risk Latin America Blog @PolRiskLatam

Argentina Moves to Seize Newsprint Firm

Posted in News and Articles by politicalrisklatam on August 25, 2010

by Shane Romig for The Wall Street Journal, August 26th, 2010.

BUENOS AIRES—Argentina’s government intensified a campaign to wrest control of the country’s largest newsprint-paper provider on Tuesday, a move top local newspapers called a brazen attack on press freedom.

President Cristina Kirchner said her government will turn to the courts in an effort to manage Papel Prensa SA and investigate human-rights violations, arguing the sale of the company to a group of Argentine newspapers in the mid-1970s was coerced by the then-military dictatorship. Ms. Kirchner said she will also ask Congress to declare the company a “national interest” to guarantee all media access to paper at the same price. In addition, Ms. Kirchner called for a Congressional committee to oversee Papel Prensa and take seats on the company’s board.

“Whoever controls Papel Prensa, controls the printed word,” Ms. Kirchner said, accusing the papers of maintaining a vertical monopoly.

Media companies, however, say the moves are the latest in a growing offensive by Ms. Kirchner to gag the media. Last week, the government revoked the Internet service license for Grupo Clarin SA, the country’s largest media group. (continue reading… )

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