New president moves to merge AFTIC, AFSCA into ENACOM; legal challenge thrown down

8 Jan 2016

Ongoing plans in Argentina to merge the Federal Authority of Audiovisual Communication Services (Autoridad Federal de Servicios de Comunicacion Audiovisual, AFSCA) and the Federal ICT Authority (Autoridad Federal de Tecnologias de la Informacion y las Comunicaciones, AFTIC) into a new entity have become mired in confusion, after Luis Arias, a judge from La Plata, ordered the government to abstain from reforming AFSCA, arguing: ‘[The government] is prohibited to alter, modify, eliminate or supress the functions and the existence of the AFSCA media watchdog through any action or rule that would represent a modification of the standards of Law No. 26,552’.

On his first day in office in November last year, incoming president Mauricio Macri unveiled plans to create the National Entity for Communications (Ente Nacional de Comunicaciones, ENACOM), to assume control of AFSCA and AFTIC – both of which have been designated as autonomous organisations under the 2009 Media Law. ENACOM is to be headed by Miguel De Godoy, a former media aide to Macri.

Despite the political, and indeed legal, opposition to the move, the formation of ENACOM continues to gather momentum, with the Buenos Aires Herald reporting that Decree 7/2016 has been included in this week’s Official Gazette. The new decree outlines the rules for the selection of the entity’s board of directors.