68 out of 173 in the latest worldwide index
Area: 2,780,400 sq. km
Head of state: Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, since December 2007
Relations remain tense between a section of the private press and President Cristina Fernandez. A draft law to limit media concentration is set to replace the broadcast law adopted by the military regime which in still in force.
Relations remain strained between a section of the private press and President Cristina Fernandez, whose husband and predecessor Nestor Kirchner, refused to give a single press conference throughout his time in office (2003-2007). His cold-shoulder was chiefly reserved for the daily La Nacion, which was open in its opposition to “Kirchnerism”. In fact, it is the leading press group, Clarin, which is taking the main role in fighting a draft law designed to curb media concentration, which is admittedly excessive in argentine. The draft law, backed by the president herself, would replace the 15 September 1980 broadcast law adopted by the military regime but still in force and which has recently led to the closure of independent radios. Amendments made to this law after the return to democracy in 1983 at the same time reduced government control over programme content and boosted media concentration. Some cases of pressure being brought to bear by federal authorities have further fuelled tension between the press and the presidential palace. However, most incidents of assault and intimidation have involved provincial media when they raise embarrassing issues with governors. They are often either rewarded or punished for their editorial line through unfair distribution of official advertising. Direct violence against the media is rare, compared to other countries in the region, but cases too often go unpunished. A draft resolution on the safety of journalists proposed in the lower house of the Federal Congress in October 2008 by the deputy, Diana Conti, close to the Kirchner administration, has still not been adopted.