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Argentina

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Freedom House and Argentina’s Foundation for Freedom of Expression and Democracy (Fundacion LED) express deep concern over the recent directives by the Argentinean government to prohibit private companies to place advertisement in independent media outlets. By targeting media groups that do not share the national government’s viewpoints, this policy threatens freedom of expression, and represents a troubling escalation of the ongoing confrontation with independent media. Freedom House and Fundacion LED call on Argentina’s leadership to abandon their campaign of economic pressure on the country’s free press and rescind these latest restrictions on private retailers.

As 2012 winds down, it is time again to reflect on the year’s human rights developments. Unfortunately, the bad seemed to outweigh the good this year, as many authoritarians held on to power and continued upheaval in the Middle East threatened to derail any democratic progress.

December 7 will mark the death of press freedom in Argentina, if the country’s largest media conglomerate, Grupo Clarín, is to be believed. That date is the deadline by which Clarín must divest many of its assets or see them forcibly auctioned off in accordance with a 2009 media law. As in much of Latin America, Argentine media are controlled by a relatively small collection of private owners, and the law aimed to open the media landscape to a greater diversity of voices by limiting the number of licenses a single company can hold. However, Grupo Clarín and free speech advocates have argued that the government-backed legislation violates property rights and threatens freedom of the press. Given the contentious relationship between Clarín and the government, the group insists it is being unfairly targeted for political reasons.

The reelection of the United States to the United Nations Human Rights Council was a positive development in a largely disappointing election by the UN General Assembly (UNGA) yesterday, in which seven countries with poor human rights records—Cote d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Gabon, Kazakhstan, Pakistan, the United Arab Emirates, and Venezuela—were also elected.

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Special Reports

Evaluation of 2008-2011 UN Human Rights Council Candidates

On May 21, 2008, the UN General Assembly will elect 15 new Human Rights Council members. Twenty countries are candidates. Freedom House and UN Watch evaluated each candidate’s suitability for election to the Human Rights Council by examining its record of human rights protection at home and its record of human rights promotion at the UN.

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