Govt suffers further setback in media law battle against Clarin

12 Dec 2012

Argentina’s Supreme Court has rejected a plea by the government to bypass the normal appeals court process and have the court rule directly on the constitutionality of a media law that would force media giant Grupo Clarin to divest some of its assets, Dow Jones Newswires reports. Last week Grupo Clarin was awarded a last-minute extension of an injunction against the country’s media law, which had been due to expire on 7 December. The injunction will now remain in place until the constitutionality of the media law is determined by the courts. Clarin owns local cableco Cablevision, broadband provider FiberTel and a number of TV channels. In December 2009 it 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, notes TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database. The three-year precautionary measure was due to mature on 7 December, and from that date the government said it planned to auction off 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 failed to comply with the law. Last week Justice Minister Julio Alak warned the court not to extend Clarin’s injunction, saying that such a move would be ‘an insurrection against a law of the nation.’

Argentina, Cablevision (FiberTel)