Clarin asks Supreme Court to hear media law case

23 Nov 2012

Argentine media giant Grupo Clarin, which owns local cableco Cablevision, broadband provider FiberTel and a number of TV channels, has asked the Supreme Court to hear its case against the implementation of the country’s controversial media law, under which the firm will be forced to divest certain assets from 7 December. Dow Jones Newswires cites a statement from Clarin as saying that the government has ‘denied it justice’ by removing judges from a federal court that was supposed to resolve the dispute. In December 2009 Clarin won a court suspension of Article 161 of the Audiovisual Communication Law, which states that companies exceeding licence limits set forth by the law must make divestments within one year. The three-year precautionary measure will mature on 7 December, however, meaning that Clarin may be forced to sell some of its assets. Earlier this month, the country’s media regulator Martin Sabbatella said the government will call for an auction of Clarin’s licences that exceed legal limits (158 TV licences, one for each of the cities in which it offers cable and internet, and 134 more than the 24 allowed) if it does not act by 7 December, stating that the government will not confiscate or nationalise media companies. Responding to Clarin’s request to the Supreme Court, Justice Minister Julio Alak said: ‘Clarin doesn’t want to comply with the media law… It’s hard to see how this request will be accepted by the court.’

Argentina, Cablevision (FiberTel)