Concern about coercion by the Argentine State against Consumer Organizations

Fundación LED has expressed great concern about the attitude of the Argentine State coercing Consumer Organizations.

These events, which have increased recently, trigger self-censorship amidst organizations and are a serious impairment of freedom of expression and consumer rights.

Concern about coercion by the Argentine State against Consumer Organizations

Fundación LED (Libertad de Expresión + Democracia) (Freedom of Expression + Democracy) has reiterated its concern about the coercion exerted by the Argentine State against Consumer Organizations.

The Office of the Undersecretary for Consumer Protection, through the Undersecretary herself, Ms. María Lucila Colombo, has suggested to ADELCO (acronym for Asociación del Consumidor (Consumer Association)) to stop disclosing information on the evolution of consumer basket prices.

This survey, which ADELCO has been disclosing for more than twenty years, will be interrupted, as announced by Claudia Collado, head of such entity, in a clear act of self-censorship, as a consequence of the intimidation exerted by the Argentine State.

Section 42 of the Argentine Constitution—introduced by means of the 1994 reform—sets forth the right of consumers to adequate and truthful information and provides for the duty that the authorities have towards setting up consumer and user associations. The discretionality of the national authorities, surmised through direct or indirect pressures on the different consumer associations, has successively led to an atmosphere of organization self-censorship (anticipated by Fundación LED in its document of August 27, “Yet Another Act of Censorship in Argentina”) so as to avoid sanctions such as the one imposed on Asociación de Consumidores Libres (association of free consumers), chaired by Mr. Héctor Polino.

To stop disclosing price indexes by means of fines or coercitive threatening by authorities of any type is a serious offence against freedom of expression and seriously harms the exercise of all citizen´s constitutional rights.