Argentina is one of the countries where press freedom was most affected in the last yearaccording to the global report of the World Press Freedom Index prepared by Reporters Without Borders (RSF), which placed the country in 66th place, 26 places lower than in 2023.

“The coming to power of Javier Mileyopenly hostile to the press, marks a new and worrying turning point for the guarantee of the right to information in the country,” says the study, released this Friday within the framework of International Press Freedom Day.

RSF denounces that the President “encourages attacks on journalists and attacks to discredit media and reporters critical of its politics”, while “its supporters spread it widely.” Likewise, he classifies the attack on the state news agency Télam as “a symbolic and worrying act.”

The situation at the national level is framed in a global context in which, according to the NGO, “press freedom is threatened by the same people who should be its guarantors: the political authorities”.

RSF considers “freedom of the press” as “the effective possibility for journalists, as individuals and as a collective, to select, produce and disseminate information, in the interest of the general interest, regardless of political, economic, legal and social interference, and without prejudice to their physical and mental safety.” The score of each country depends on five context indicators, which allow us to understand press freedom in a territory, in all its complexity: political context, legal framework, economic context, sociocultural context and security.

In this year’s report, The political indicator is the one that decreases the most, with a drop of 7.6 points. “A growing number of governments and political authorities fail in their role of guaranteeing an exemplary framework for the practice of journalism and for the right of citizens to reliable, independent and plural information,” the study explains.

Argentina in the focus

The situation reflected in the report regarding press freedom occurs within the framework of a complicated scenario that the sector is going through in the country under the government of Javier Milei, who from the first days of his administration stopped the official advertising schedule to the media.

On the other hand, it is worth remembering that el DNU 70/2023 repeals law 20,705 on state companies and provides for the transformation into public limited companies of the companies RTA SE (of which Public Television and National Radio are part) and TELAM SE, in a clear attempt to convert media outlets that fulfill a public function into lucrative companies. The designation of Diego Martin Chaher, a lawyer and manager linked to Daniel Vila’s Grupo América as auditor of public media, is enrolled in that plan. The now official proposes a “reformulation plan”, “modify the personnel statute”, among other attacks, in what was described by the Argentine Federation of Press Workers (FATPREN) as “an authoritarian decision that attacks the social role of the public media and the National Congress.”

On the other hand, without going any further, last week The ruling party managed to approve the Bases Law in the Chamber of Deputieswhich includes between state companies to privatize Radio and Television Argentina (RTA) – which controls Public TV and National Radio and its 40 repeaters in the country – together with ENARSA, Intercargo and Aerolíneas Argentinas, among others. The project will begin to be discussed next week in the Senate committees, where the alliances that the ruling party can forge are still not clear and Street mobilization will be a key axis to define the future of the law.

The attempt to privatize RTA, with layoffs at Radio Nacional and cuts to the budget and programming of Public TV, adds to the intention of President Javier Milei to close the state news agency Télamas announced in the speech on March 1 during the opening of ordinary sessions of Congress.

The workers are holding camps against the voluntary retirement plan and have re-established the “Somos Télam” portal, inaugurated during the attacks of Mauricio Macri’s presidency. This Friday, The government spread the news that it would close all the agency’s correspondents in the interior of the country.

The Buenos Aires Press Union (SiPreBA) He denounced this maneuver as a psychological campaign to scare the workers: “The attempt to close the correspondents is part of the same logic of the attack on the National Radio stations throughout the country. They attack their federal role, so that our public media lack social meaning. This is one of the many ways that the Milei government deploys to advance our sovereignty. The public media guarantee their own information from the entire country through the Télam correspondents and the Radio Nacional stations with their programming.”

The situation in the public media is framed in an attack on the salaries of workers in media companies in the country, who maintain salaries that do not exceed the poverty line, close printed editions such as Ámbito Financiero or carry out arbitrary suspensions and dismissals. like on América TV. These media groups speculate on their alignment with the Milei government, while they make invisible the struggles carried out by workers throughout the country against layoffs, as in GPS-Aerolíneas Argentinas or the organization that starts from the bottom in neighborhood assemblies, to give just a few examples.

Therefore, the fight to defend freedom of the press is not an abstraction. It is essential to surround the workers of the Télam, Radio and Public Television agency with support, unifying the forces with the sectors attacked by the plan of the ruling party and its accomplices. The coordination of all sectors in struggle and of the working people who are affected by the government’s policy of hunger and subordination to the IMF is essential facing the next general strike on May 9 and the treatment of the Bases Law in the Senate to defeat the plan of Milei and his allies.


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