The provincial media still faces much pressure and official abuses and at national level relations are tense between the press and the government, which uses distribution of public advertising as a weapon. Press freedom may also be undermined by a proposal to limit access to public information.
President Néstor Kirchner prefers to deal directly with people, through dialogue and action, rather than through the media, the Inter American Press Association noted in March 2005 after a fact-finding mission to Argentina. The president strongly criticised the report as being inspired by the country’s major press groups, notably La Nación, which has been condemned for its complicity with the 1976-83 military dictatorship.
The media complains the government does not invite some journalists to cover official voyages, releases very little official information, puts pressure on government officials and uses distribution of public advertising as a political weapon.
The situation is not good in the provinces. Mariano Saravia, of the Córdova daily La Voz del Interior, who wrote a book about police behaviour during the dictatorship, was frequently threatened and legally hounded. Leandro López, of the daily El Sol, in Concordia (in the eastern province of Entre Ríos), was beaten up on 10 October in a police station where he had gone investigate a road accident. Journalists elsewhere were beaten by officials who were not punished.
A bill was debated by the federal chamber of deputies to only release official information of “legitimate interest” and providing for civil and criminal penalties for institutions and officials, including the media.