By Eliana Raszewski
Oct. 10 (Bloomberg) -- Argentina’s Senate approved a government-backed bill that puts new limits on television and radio ownership and will probably force Grupo Clarin SA, the country’s biggest media company, to sell off assets.
The Senate handed President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner a victory, passing 44-24 a law she said will “democratize” the airwaves. After a session lasting almost 20 hours, senators approved the 164 articles of the bill without change. The central provision of the law limits ownership of cable and broadcast operations in a single market. In pushing the bill, Fernandez said Clarin holds 73 percent of Argentina’s radio, television and cable licenses.
Critics of the bill, such as Senator Luis Petcoff Naidenoff of the Radical Civic Union party, said its aim was in fact to “silence voices” of dissent after Fernandez and her husband, former President Nestor Kirchner, began accusing Clarin of bias in covering their policies.
“This bill is very important for the government because it will allow for control of the press and of the impact the government thinks the media has on public opinion,” said Carlos Fara, director of pollster Carlos Fara & Asociados in Buenos Aires. “The story of this bill doesn’t end here because we’ll see lawsuits and maybe the new Congress will make more changes.”
Daniel Vila, president of closely held Uno Medios, a media company based in the western province of Mendoza, said Sept. 24 the bill amounted to “indirect expropriation” and would lead
Argentine Senate Approves Fernandez?s Media Bill (Update2) - Bloomberg.com