Dismissals at Radio 10: A Form of Censorship against Dissident Voices

Fundación LED (Libertad de Expresión + Democracia) is concerned about the dismissals at the radio station Radio 10, managed by the Indalo Media Group, a multimedia operation owned by tycoon Cristóbal López.

The journalists Antonio Laje and Gustavo Mura were dismissed because their opinions are contrary to Federal Government policies. Their dismissals are acts of censorship which cannot go unnoticed in the current atmosphere of social tension.

As we said on December 26, 2012, in our statement “Less plurality of voices = less democracy”, Fundación LED voiced its deep concern about the concentration of opinions that was being experienced in the country at that time, which materialized in dismissals of media workers from the media where they had worked for years because their criteria differed from the editorial line of the respective business group.

Although media and media owners are entitled to set an editorial line, and although it is only reasonable and legitimate to prioritize journalists who express that opinion clearly, media concentration as favoured by the Argentine Government, i. e., favouring media that sympathize with Government interests, has led to dismiss journalists who have at some point expressed critical opinions or opinions which merely differ from the official “narrative”.

Indeed, in 2012 journalist Marcelo Longobardi was fired from C5N, and in 2013 reporter Luis Rosales was dismissed from that same station, and now, within just the first few hours of 2014, we hear the news that two other journalists, Gustavo Mura and Antonio Laje, have been dismissed once more by the management of that same business group.

Significantly, just as our Foundation pointed out in due time, such media transfer to the Indalo Group (owned by tycoon Cristóbal López) should not have materialized under the Law of Audiovisual Communications Services, both because the law bans public service providers from engaging in radio broadcasting, and because of the provisions on license multiplicity set forth in Section 45.

In all the above cases, although business decisions on content programming may seem reasonable, they were taken in violation of radio broadcasting regulations and thus translate into censorship restrictions aimed at achieving a concentration of voices and at preventing any message from being aired if it is contrary to the message conveyed by the Federal Government.

Clearly, the dismissal of Radio 10 and C5N journalists shows that the disciplining process in that editorial line has been completed. The purchase of the media in question and the latest dismissals therefore seem to account for an exchange of favours between a businessman who is a public service provider and the Administration awarding works to him; by guaranteeing an editorial line addicted to the Government’s desires, the company gets the government’s blessing and the Administration, in turn, moves on towards total hegemony, making sure that it counts with every time more voices favourable to it in the media.

Fundación LED reiterates that democratic societies demand from their governments full enforcement of the right to freedom of expression by respecting different opinions and enforcing the laws equitably and for everybody alike.