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Today an interesting article was published by the Spanish newspaper El Pais about the new broadcasting media law in Argentina. It would seem that the Supreme Court was handed a burning coal and it’s eager to pass it on. That’s the problem. The solution? Call for a public debate. Nice, when in trouble shift the blame to somebody else.

The excuse? The Supreme Court must decide “a case of national transcendence, which concerns not only the parts but the society as a whole”. Also, this law is supposed to be so important that it is considered of “institutional criticality” (whatever that may mean).

Translation

Whatever we decide, we are going to create powerful political enemies all over the country. This is bad business for us because we may end up losing our jobs.  In addition, we may end up screwing-up the lives of our colleagues throughout the nation, in which case we will be truly un-employable.

Here, at F&P, we will study this event not because of the Supreme Court’s political manoeuvring (that’s a given in banana countries) but because it summarizes quite nicely all the different points of view. This is going to be fun!

Background

In 2009 a new law was promulgated. In essence, it restricted the amount of media that a company can own. Something along the lines of: if you own two newspapers you can only have one TV station and 3 Radio stations.

 

On the "people’s" side (government’s side) we find four speakers

Dean San Martin University’s. In his view they are “confronted with a dilemma; or the savage powers or the institutions that provide guaranties to the rights” (referring to broadcasting and ownership rights given to minorities in the law).

Translation: I am a clueless leftist who does not understand markets. I have a built-in hatred of corporations. I believe in nice, cuddly, people-friendly governments that can do no harm. They (the governments) are the source of all rights and are the only ones capable of enforcing them.

Comments: For a dean to be so incredibly misinformed, one has to wonder what’s in it for him. He speaks about the rights stated in the law; rights, which are, of course, a figment of his imagination. Just because a government creates “rights” out of thin air, it does not mean that people actually had or has them. In addition, he now demands that those non-existing rights be enforced by the government who created them in the first place! Obviously he has no clue as to how competition limits stupidity or nonsense. In addition, he assigns to himself the right to decide who those minorities are, what do they want, and to what extent average people are even interested!

 

President Argentine Jurists Association. He calls to “protect the freedom of speech” from the “manipulation of government administrations and economic interests” which “limit citizens’ rights of access to information sources”.

Translation: The law must protect the hypothetical and ethereal “freedom of speech”. This freedom is critical for lawyers to publish the views of their clients and hence exercising pressure on the judiciary and political bodies in order to get advantages.

Comments: It is obvious that lawyers love headlines, and marketing and propaganda. The higher the profile of a case, the more money they make.

 

A professor from the University of Lanus. According to him the State must “transform the structural conditions preventing the exercising of freedom of speech; in particular those belonging to sectors with disadvantages to express their opinion”. He also recognized that the State and “private concentration” can threaten freedom of expression.

Translation: as a leftist I believe that structural conditions are the problem why minority people have no saying. In addition, we must take away from the government and corporations sufficient media so that they cannot threaten our right to publish our views.

Comments: if this would be true, then even if the government would give all the rights to minorities, it would still accomplish nothing. It is ridiculous to believe that people without means will suddenly, magically be able to afford newspapers or tv stations just because they have been given the right to a specific electromagnetic bandwidth (a tv channel or radio frequency).

 

President Argentine Cooperative Confederation’s. He stated that “if the market is not regulated, it will tend towards concentration”.

Translation: We have no clue about how a truly free market works but cooperatives are always politically correct and therefore we have the advantage. We don’t want to lose this advantage to more competitive corporations. So, we need to get the government to block them for us.

Comments: this is the typical stance that cooperatives take. They are seen by politicians as the solution to corporativism, or at least a suitable, politically correct, vote-earning position to be in.

Tomorrow, in Part 2, we will take a look at the opposing side of the issue.

Note: please see the Glossary if you are unfamiliar with certain words.

Continue to Freedom of disinformation – worth fighting for - Part 2

 

 

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