Argentina president signs controversial media bill into law

Argentina president signs controversial media bill into law

[JURIST] Argentinian President Christina Fernandez de Kirchner [official profile; BBC profile] Saturday signed into law a controversial bill giving her government more power to regulate the media, while limiting the power of private media companies. The executive branch now has the power to appoint [NYT report] representatives to a media regulating board. The new law is said be particularly directed at media conglomerate Clarin [media website, in Spanish], which owns several major newspapers and television channels. Current media holdings will not be grandfathered in [Buenos Aires Herald], but rather given one year to adjust to the new regulation.

Kirchner reportedly has blamed her 20 percent approval rating and a mid-term election loss on Clarin, which controls 46 percent of the Argentina cable market, and wanted to pass the law before losing [VOA report] her Congressional majority in December. Last week, tax agents raided [BBC report] the Clarin newspaper office, and currently, Argentine judges are holding a hearing [AP report] to determine whether the children of a Clarin director are illegally adopted orphans from Argentina's so-called "Dirty War" [JURIST news archive].