Fundación LED (Libertad de Expresión + Democracia) is an NGO devoted to the protection and spreading of the right to freedom of expression and to following up on public policies concerning Government advertising, access to information and transparency (as provided for in the Argentine Constitution and in the international treaties incorporated in it) since December, 2011. Fundación LED works in an articulated manner with other organizations from Argentina and Latin America to guarantee the full application of these fundamental rights of democracy.
The outcome of the work carried out during 2014 is the report on “Limitations to the Exercise of Freedom of Expression – Argentina 2014” which Fundación LED is now submitting.
The report is broken down into three chapters focusing on the limitations to the exercise of freedom of expression which translated into different actions against journalists, the media and citizens in general, on an analysis of the resources allocated by the Executive to Official Advertising, the program Fútbol para Todos (Football for All of Us), the Public Media System and other communications expenses, and on the breach and/or the selective enforcement of Law 26,522 on Audiovisual Communications Services.
The first chapter lists chronologically 451 cases in which the exercise of freedom of expression of journalists, media, institutions or citizens in general has been limited by different means. Cases have been divided into 8 categories allowing to identify the type of limitation and to establish a comparison with previous surveys. The first of these categories compiles “attacks, assaults, threats or intimidation against journalists or media”—a total of 138 cases are listed, amounting to an 81% increase compared to 2013.
The second chapter analyses the use of public resources allocated to official advertising, the public media system, the program Fútbol para Todos (Football for All of Us), and other communications expenses, listing the arbitrary distribution of official advertising, advertising expenses of decentralized agencies and state-controlled companies. The 16,415,831,222 pesos used to uphold the Government´s communications machinery mean a daily expenditure of 44,974,880.06 pesos which is borne by all Argentines.
The third and last chapter reveals breaches and/or selective enforcement of Law 26,522, focusing in particular on the actions and operations of the Federal Audiovisual Communication Services Authorities (Autoridad Federal de Servicios de Comunicación Audiovisual), especially on the decisions taken by that agency regarding the adjustment process required under Law No. 26,522, with which the different media groups must comply, and the granting of licenses to operate in the different categories of the radio spectrum.
The data stated and the graphs presented have been organized and drawn up allowing for a quick comparison with previous reports and the establishment of trendsetting series.
The information submitted was compiled throughout 2014 by Fundación LED assistants, having been obtained from official sources as well as by following up on the information published in different media, and from cases denounced at Fundación LED.
We hope this report will be a valuable contribution to the exchange of ideas in Argentina and in the Region, and we are eager to hear your views and opinions.