Argentina


Background Information

  • The national flag of the Argentine Republic
    The national flag of the Argentine Republic
    Official Name:Argentine Republic
  • Capital City: Buenos Aires (34°36′S 58°23′W)
  • Official Language:Spanish
  • Population:41. 770 million (2011 est.)
  • Size:2 766 890 sq. km.
  • Geographical Area: Argentina is located within the South American continent, falling between the Atlantic Ocean in the East, and the Andes Mountain Range to the West. Argentina is bordered by Paraguay and Bolivia to its North, Brazil and Uruguay to its North-East and Chile at both its West and South borders. The South-Georgia, South Sandwich and Falkland Islands are all also included in the same general territory.
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Map of the Argentine Republic

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World map highlighting the location of the Argentine Republic













Introduction


Described as having a 'long history of journalistic struggle' (Amatua, 2011), Argentina's media has experienced an extensive internal dispute in parallel to both the economic and political state of the country. Ranked as 55 on the International Press Freedom Index from Reporters Without Borders, Argentina has only in recent years begun to form a liberalised media base after years of military rule, due to governmental deregulation. Largely in the hands of private ownership, in recent times the Argentine media were dominated by powerful and influential media groups such as Grupo Clarin. The Government has recently passed legislation aimed at weakening media monopolies and promoting a diverse media landscape.

Ownership of the Argentine Media

Newspapers

Newspapers are one of the most influential forms of communication in Argentina. With a total adult literacy rate of 98% (UNICEF 2008), Argentina have the highest newsprint consumption in Latin America. There is a total of 106 daily newspapers with a circulation of 1.5 million. Buenos Aires has at least 12 major national newspapers alone. The national newspapers tend to avoid provincial concerns, which are substituted by a few hundred local newspapers in the provinces (Aleman and Dinatale n.d.). Newspapers found it difficult to produce regulation-free material when the military government ruled Argentina between 1976 and 1983. Many journalists were threatened or mysteriously disappeared. However since then, newspapers are largely privately owned and are written with no 'official' regulation.
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Major Print Owners:

1. Grupo Clarin:
Founded by Roberto Noble in 1945, Grupo Clarin is a privately owned media conglomerate that owns the most popular newspaper Clarin, the daily sports paper Ole and also holds shares in at least three provincial papers and the news agency DYN. Furthermore, it has shares in the press group Artes Graficas Rioplatense S.A., the magazine Elle and the publishing company Aguilar (Aleman and Dinatale n.d.).


Clarin:
Ole:
external image clarin-catamarca.jpg
ole.jpg
Founded: Roberto Noble, 1945
Director: Ernestina Herrera de Noble
The Clarin is a daily tabloid newspaper that has a circulation average of 800,000 on weekdays and 1.2 million on Sundays. It is the most widely read newspaper in Spanish-speaking Latin America and the second-highest circulation Spanish newspaper in the world. Publications include pieces on world affairs, economics, culture and sport (Clarin, Argentina Solution 2007).
Founded: May 23, 1996.
Director: Leonardo Farinella
Published: Buenos Aires, Argentina
Ole is the only major daily newspaper dedicated to sport with a circulation of approximately 100,000 (Aleman and Dinatale n.d.).


2. La Nacion S.A:
Founded by former Argentine President Bartolome Mitre and associates in 1870, La Nacion is the second largest media company which not only runs the La Nacion newspaper but also is a partial external image Clausura_2006_La_Nacion.jpgowner of the national satellite Paracomstat. In 1978 they created the company Papel Prensa S.A. to produce newsprint. Today the company covers a major part of the local market in producing 165,000 tons of paper a year. It has shares in at least two provincial dailies and in the news agency DYN (La Nacion, una tribuna de doctrina 2007).

La Nacion:
Founded in 1870, La Nacion is the second largest national newspaper with approximately 500,000 papers in circulation on weekdays and 800,000 on Sundays. It is one of the most influential newspapers in the country's history. It is said to take a more conservative position (Aleman and Dinatale n.d.).

Smaller Print Owners


3. Ambito Financiero
Ambito Financierois one of the largest newspapers dedicated to economic issues. It was first published in 1976 and is owned by Editorial Amfin S.A. It includes articles by well known economists and provides information on the day-to-day financial activity of the local markets. It also owns a smaller paper, La Manana del Sur, sold in 3 provinces (Mondotimes n.d.).
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4. El Cronista
Founded in 1908, El Cronista is similar in its content to Ambito Financiero. Historically, it has been an important paper peaking in popularity between 1930-50 and in their dangerous opposition to the last military government. El Cronista is owned by the Spanish media group Recoletos, who is owned by the Pearson Group, editor of the Financial Times (Aleman and Dinatale n.d.).
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5. Diario Popular
The Diario Popularwas established on 1 July 1974 by David Kraiselburd. It has the third largest circulation of newspapers in Argentina. It is a sensationalist paper with emphasis on police news, sports and entertainment. In 2004, it averaged 71,159 daily sales. The newspaper's majority shareholding is within the Kraiselburd family
(Aleman and Dinatale n.d.).

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6. Pagina 12
Pagina 12 first appeared in Buenos Aires in 1987. Written by 'investigative journalists', it is regarded as an intellectual paper with a progressive readership. Often critical of government policy, it favours analysis and depth of information with articles often spanning two pages (Pagina 12, el pais a dario 2007).
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7. Buenos Aires Herald
Founded in 1876, the Buenos Aires Heraldit is the only major foreign language newspaper. It is written in English with editorials in English and Spanish, it played a key role in opposing the military government (Aleman and Dinatale n.d.).
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Regulation and Reflection of Newspapers in Argentina:


It seems Argentina’s high proportion of privately owned newspapers has led to a complex relationship between the press and government. Privately owned papers are imperative in a country that has recently adopted democracy, as unregulated investigative journalism helps to maintain an open flow of information between the government and the people. On the surface, the freedom of press seems to be in good stead with it built into the constitution in 1994. With a total adult literacy rate of 98% (UNICEF 2008), Argentina has the highest newsprint consumption in Latin America. Additionally, there appears to be a highly circulated flow of information with a total of 106 daily newspapers. However, when one digs deeper and finds Argentina is ranked 55/178 (Press Freedom Index 2010) we see there are some “noticeable problems” in attempts to regulate media.

Firstly, Argentina’s major newspapers Clarin and La Nacion have become incredibly influential. This has had major repercussions for politicians as a powerful paper’s favour/rejection of a politician can determine the outcome of an election. For example, President Nestor Kirchner blames Clarin's barrage of negative press for losing a regional election in 2009. Since then, he began what "some commentators say is a vendetta against the media group", taking away their right to broadcast live Argentine first division football as well as restricting internet services (BBC News, 2010). This interaction clouds the integrity of journalism as both the media conglomerate Clarin and the government are abusing their [[#|power]]to achieve what they desire. This example encapsulates the hostile relationship between the press and the government.

Secondly, although until 2009 there were no governmental institutions dedicated to censoring press before it is published, many journalists suffer threats, intimidation and violence (Aleman and Dinatale n.d.). The Buenos Aires Workers Union reported 1,283 cases of violent aggression towards journalists between 1989 and 2001. Photojournalist Jose Luis Cabezas journalist was murdered in 1997 and a number of journalists such as Adams Ledesma have gone missing over the last decade with corrupt police officers often involved.

Historically, the influence of media giants such as Clarin and La Nacion meant governments abstained from the official implementation of regulation of media in order to stay in favour with the public. However, in 2009 legislation passed specifically designed to weaken media monopolies and regulate content. Although national papers Clarin and La Nacion dominate popular opinion, Argentines can access a diverse range of papers differing in editorial position. Furthermore, Clarin appears to have some integrity in its ownership of Pagina 12 as this newspaper is regarded by many to be intellectual, critical and analytical (Pagina 12, el pais a dario 2007). Overall, the high percentage of literate citizens can enjoy a reasonable diversity in content, distribution and availability of newspapers in Argentina. While there have been attempts to regulate newspapers in Argentina's recent history, the state of press freedom has vastly improved from the military dictatorship of 1976-83.


Broadcasting


Radio


  • Number of Radio receivers: 24,300,000 (the population, according to the 2000 census was 36,000,000
  • According to the press organisation FLAPP (Federación Latinoamericana de Prensa en Periódicos) over 6% of Argentina's advertising revenue was set aside for media purposes in 2001.
  • Approximately 260 AM radio stations, and 300 FM stations with a ratio of 650:1000 in relation to radios and individuals (Press Reference).
  • During the 70's and 80's when the military gained control, and Argentina became a military dictatorship, broadcasting media was seized by those in control; this remained the case until the end of the military regime.

Ownership;

Following the Military Dictatorship in Argentina during the 70's and 80's, Argentina saw a massive increase in the privatisation of media ownership.
In conjunction with these adaptations post the Argentine Revolution, there occurred a rapid increase in foreign owned companies with ownership over Argentina's television and radio broadcasting services.
Contemporary media ownership within Argentina, prior to Fernandez' latest implementation of new media legislation was privatised and saw the existence of media conglomerates; the largest of which is 'The Clarin Group' who owned two of Argentina's popular radio stations 'Radio Mitre' and 'Radio FM100'.

The implications of the new law proposed by Argentina's President for such conglomerates alike the Clarin Group are pivotal, and potentially destructive.

Contemporary legislation surrounding the ownership of broadcasting media in Argentina;

Many attempts have been made in relation to legislation aimed at widening the concentration of media ownership, and limiting the growth of media conglomerates. Such legislation includes:
The antitrust legislation of 1997; this focussed primarily on limiting the growth of media conglomerates.
The modification of broadcasting laws in 1999; these modifications 'favoured greater concentration of media ownership' (Press reference)

Law No 26,522 on Audiovisual Communication Services

Ownership of media within Argentina has historically been fairly concentrated, with threats being made about the potential for new regulations and legislations to be implemented in an attempt to encourage local providers, and discourage media conglomerates.
On October 10, 2009 President Fernandez implemented new legislation surrounding the ownership of media. (Squire, Sanders & Dempsey L.L.P. 2009)
In an attempt to democratize the media by encouraging local providers, the law aimed to enhance the protection of Argentina's culture.
The policies provided by the law would undoubtedly impact the reach of Argentina's largest media ownership company, Grupo Clarin.


The impact this law will have on the Radio Broadcasting sector of the media includes:
- A dramatic decrease in the availability of radio for commerical providers; the media is to be divided into three divisions- government services, nongovernment services and commercial services.
- Limit the number of licenses a single entity or network can have to operate radio and television; this will result in media companies which own several forms of radio and television stations, having to sell these.
- 70 % of radio content, and 60% of broadcast television content to be produced in Argentina
- Cable channels to include networks which cover universities, municipalities and provinces within their coverage area of services; this is in an attempt to advertise local bands, singers etc,.
- Limiting the percentage of foreign ownership in local radio and television broadcasting to 30%

Reflection
Ownership of media companies within Argentina is fairly limited, and legislation has in many cases attempted to attack this issue.
With the promotion of local providers and a limit on large companies, such as conglomerate alike 'Grupo Clarin', legislation has been implemented to widen the scope of media available to Argentina's population.
Whilst efforts have been made to broaden the scope of Argentina's radio broadcasting owners, there too exists the idea that opposes the governments decision to implement new regulations surrounding the ideas that these changes will only advance and further the governments input and sway over media.

Television


Described as "one of the most important cable and television markets in Latin America" (Chiemelesky J., 2011) , Argentina's television broadcasting history has been characterized by the state's internal political and economic conditions. The changing governments and military dictatorship within Argentina has been crucial in shaping the media. The first transmissions broadcast in Argentina occurred in 1951, administered by President Juan Peron with the state-owned network Canal 7. In this initial period of broadcasting within Argentina, the television media was strictly controlled by state regulation; an exception to this was for advertisements from private companies.
The change in government throughout 1950's to 1960's saw a complete liberalisation, and the television Argentinean broadcasting market was privatised. Not only did this result in the rise of independent local networks, but also in an influx of foreign programming and ownership.
Arguably, the most pivotal transformation was the re-establishment of state-ownership over television broadcasting in Argentina, which "played directly into the hands of the military dictatorship" (Museum of Broadcasting) from 1976 to 1983. This left the country in an information standstill, as military ideology was continuously broadcast over television channels. Not until a new political party gained political rule within Argentina, did deregulation and "loosening" (Chiemelesky J., 2011) of the broadcasting media see the emergence of national conglomerates.


Tv Publica

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- Tv Publica made its first appearance on Channel 7, on the 17th of October 1951, as radio owner and manager Jaime Yankelevich was commissioned to develop the new media station.
Channel 7's first broadcast, was the very first to occur in Argentina, commissioned by President Juan Domigo Perón on October 17, 1951.

With this initial development, Argentina became the fourth country in South America to begin national broadcasting with more then 30 recipients watching the network. In November 1951, the network began constant broadcasing under TV LR3, which then developed into LS82 TV Channel 7 when it was established into the Official Broadcasting Service.
The station went through various progressive changed throughout the decades, such as in 1980 with the establishment of coloured Television and in 2001 saw the network become a part of the National Public Media with National Radio, in the Official Service Broadcasting and Broadcasting Service Argentina. Through its growing development, Tv Publica has become an established network within Argentina and has over 295 stations throughout Argentina - making up ninety-nine percent of cable television throughout the country. (TV Publica, 2011)


El Trece

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- El Trece (Channel 13) was first founded in Buenos Aires in the mid the 1960's, established and licenced to Proartel S.A.(South America). In 1990 the network was privatised to Arte Radiotelevisivo Argentino S.A., alternatively known as Artear owned by the Grupo Clarin (Clarin Group). In addition, in 1996 the network and company began an association with the independent production company Pol-Ka. The station reaches a wide range of areas in the South American region, reaching a potential 750 000 viewers and is ranked number 2 in network popularity within Argentina. (El Trece, 2011)


Todo Noticias (TN)

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(CEO Hector Horacio Magnetto) Todo Noticias or 'All News', was established in 1993 by the company Artear, which is owned by Grupo Clarin (Clarin Group). As a 24 hour independent journalism network, Todo Noticias has a reputation which places it in the position of one of the leading and most popular networks within Argentina, reaching an audience of 18 million.
With a slogan of 'Todo Noticias, todos nosotros' or 'All News, All of Us', the network has often portrayed itself as a representative of the Argentinean people. (Todo Noticias, 2011)


Telefe Federal (TLF)


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- First known as Telefe or Canal Once (Channel 11), the state-run network first began broadcasting within Argentina on the 22nd of July 1961. However, the ' official birth' (*TelefeInternational) of the station was on the 22nd of December 1989 when the station became a Federal network. This contributed to increased ratings throughout the 1990's. In 2000 Telefe was sold to the Telefonica Group, who have since owned the network (Telefonica Group, 2011). It was through this sustained popularity that an expansion of network into Telefe International occurred, forming the first satellite broadcast from Argentina worldwide. (Telefe, 2011)

This international expansion reaches 4 million viewers in over 80 countries , including that of Honduras, Costa Rica, Peru, Paraguay, Guatemala, Dominican Republic, Nicaragua, Venezuela, Bulgaria, Albania, Romania and Poland. In addition, language and website formats have been established in Chile, Mexico, Colombia, Russia and Portugal and is currently being development in Italy, Spain, Morocco, China and the Middle East.

Telefe International Stations
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Additional Argentina Television Stations


Network Logo
Establishing Date
Ownership
América 2
america.jpg
Launched on June 25, 1966 as Rivadavia Televisión/TeVeDos
April 1991 the name changed to America
Cable Network/Private Ownership
Canal Nueve
canal
Launched on July 9, 1960
Cable Network/Private Ownership
Telefonica

Reflection

Argentina's television broadcasting media has been subjected to ongoing modifications and reformations in relation to the ongoing political transformations throughout the half-century. The emergence of media conglomerates in the late 20th century saw a near monopolisation within the Argentinean television market, by the largest corporation Clarin Group. In 2009, President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner established a new regulation law, in order to ‘decentralise and democratise’ (Squire, Sanders. 2009) the Argentine television and cable media. This law named ‘Law No 26,522 on Audiovisual Communication Services’, sought to give greater protection and advantages to the local Argentina production companies. This law was predominantly directed at the conglomerate Clarin Group, which the President believed was working directly in opposition to her government.

In summary, Argentina’s television broadcasting history has faced continuous renewal and change in order to adhere to the States own governing system. Although faced with an influx of foreign media during the privatisation in the 1970’s, particularly from the United States, Argentina has sought to make a come-back within the its own local media market, as well as expand internationally such as Telefe – Canal One. From completely privatisation to renewed liberalisation, Argentina’s television has become a strong competitor in Latin America, with the highest amount of television recievers and the highest cable penetration of 52% (Producción & Distribución, 1995, p. 22 ibid.Chiemelesky J., 2011 ).

Laws and Regulations

History

Within the Argentine Constitution of 1914, Article number 14 declares the right "of publishing their ideas through the press without prior censorship" for their citizens, however, despite the enshrined nature of this right Argentine governments throughout history have perversely neglected this right to the population.

The first evidence of censorship of the Argentinian media emerged in the rule of Governor Rosas. During his years of power over Buenos Aires between 1829-1832 and 1835-1852, widespread media suppression was executed including the closure of newspapers and the murders of several journalists critical of the current government.

Between the years of 1973 - 1986 a repressive military dictatorship adopted severe measures of media censorship which were enacted as part of the wider "National Reorganisation Process". Dictator Jorge Rafael Videla promoted concentrated media ownership and broadcasting rights in exchange for support of the dictatorship within programming and print. This lead to a highly deregulated media landscape with lack of State control resulting in a large scale lack of media diversity. During the period community and minority groups were also banned from retaining licences and voicing opinions, 84 journalists went missing with 12 assassinated and a large portion of broadcasting and control was put into the hands of the military.

Since the return to democratic government rule in 1983 advocacy groups, namely civil society bodies, have rallied in order to have the previous dictatorship era, autocratic style laws surrounding media regulation renewed. However, reforms were repeatedly blocked by the government and congress, with only minor progress achieved. Between the years of President Menem rules of 1989-1999, despite the democratic nature of the government, highly neoliberal driven policies served to further centralised the media to a limited amount of major corporations. Widespread public outrage eventuated to the forming of the "Coalition for Democratic Broadcasting" which consisted of over 300 smaller activist groups who published a manifesto of 21 key points outlining the rights surrounding media and communication access, voicing their desires through means such as multiple protests and demonstrations.

Recent Legislation

Law No 26,522 on Audiovisual Communication Services was enacted into Argentine law on the 10th of December 2009 by President Cristina Fernandez. The Bill revokes the previous Broadcasting Law which had prevailed since the dictatorship and served to overhaul previous media practices across multiple platforms and ignited widespread discussion and debate within Argentina and around the globe. First moves of major change since the fall of the dictatorship.

The 166 articles within the law focused upon dispersing power from the highly centralised media monopolies, especially that of the aforementioned Clarin Group,
and encouraging access to more diverse media content. Its key effects include:

  • Works to limit the amount of broadcasting licenses available to major media monopolies through allowing only 10 per company.
  • Expanded government control of the media. The new legislation highlights the notion of broadcasting as a "public service".
  • Divides media broadcasting rights into thirds: 1/3 government, 1/3 non-profit, 1/3 private (Valente, 2009)
  • Establishes a minimum quota for locally produced media including music and film with 70 percent of radio content and 60 percent of television broadcasting required to be produced in the country.
  • Cable television stations are bound to screen content and channels run by a variety of social groups including universities, unions and indigenous groups. Forced to include all public Nation State owned broadcasters.
  • Establishment of a federal committee in control of licensing and regulation of media. The Federal Authority of Audiovisual Communication Services (AFSCA)
    consists of seven members: two specified by the National Executive Power, three elected by Congress and two individuals elected by a body of media industry experts (Federal Council of Audiovisual Communication).
  • Places restrictions upon the extent of foreign investment by both individuals and companies.

In terms of foreign journalists reporting from within the country, the Argentinian government do not regulate, monitor or censor any cable feeds or news. No formalised procedures have been in place for dealing with reporters since the previous military government rule censored wider objective of controlling the news flow. (Press Reference, n.d.)

Impact

The legislation emerged as a result of widespread public action and outcry surrounding the prevailing authoritarian control from the dictatorship in order to to ensure the rights to a diversified media. Despite the law generating widescale tension between political forces and the media, with some questioning the motivation of the President and labelling the law as politically and personally driven vindictive attack. Although organisations including the Inter-American Press Organisation raise concerns surrounding the extent to which the legislaltion allows the government to much power in the deciding of media content, the values of pluralised media access to the wider public within Argentina which the law enshrines cannot be ignored. (Canosa, n.d.)

Law No 26,522 on Audiovisual Communication Services is in line with internationally recognised human rights standards and has attracted positive reception from a number of human rights group and industry professionals including that of the UNHCR. The United Nations Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Opinion said that the law represents "a stride forward in Latin America against the increasing concentration of media" and that through ensuring access to the media for all sections of society set "an example for other countries".(Valente, 2009)


The legislation promotes a media landscape in which the dominant elite within media conglomerates cannot impose their ideologies and personal interests upon Argentinian audiences through allowing access to media from a multiplicity of channels and therefore perspectives. (Gobbi, 2009) Through outlining a more balanced public and private ownership, the capacity for contribution from previously disenfranchised groups such as community based organisations and a wider range of media accessible to encourage diversity. It also serves to bring the countries media laws in line with basic democratic principles through ensuring a space for alternative media and aims to reatin and establish a legally binding preservation of Argentine culture within the media through creating legally binding locally produced contributions across multiple communication platforms.

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