Freedom of the Press
Press Freedom Score (0 = best, 100 = worst)
Legal Environment(0 = best, 30 = worst)
Political Environment(0 = best, 40 = worst)
Economic Environment(0 = best, 30 = worst)
Print media are privately owned and publish freely. But they received an added burden when a new print-media tax was adopted this year as part of a plan to revive the economy. The tax raises the cost of newspapers and magazines and discourages the diversity of a small-scale and independent press. Private broadcasting operates without interference. A bill introduced in 2000 to eliminate criminal penalties for defamation was never passed. Although violent attacks against journalists had abated in 2000 under former President De La Rua, the 2001 financial crisis caused a slight revival of attacks against journalists. In at least four incidents this year journalists were physically attacked either by police officers or as police officers stood idly by. One journalist was stabbed. None of the cases have been adequately investigated or prosecuted. In addition, police attacked journalists during the December riots. In another negative development, the Supreme Court upheld a 1998 ruling penalizing a newsmagazine for violating the privacy of former President Carlos Menem when it described his extramarital affairs. The government also ordered electrical companies to cut off electricity to radio stations operating without legal authorization. This unfairly targeted community and non-profit stations that were never recognized by the law in the first place.