LED Foundation against the degradation of Freedom of Expression.

The Liberty of Expression and Democracy Foundation (Fundación LED) is a private, non-profit organization dedicated to monitoring freedom of speech in Argentina as well as topics related to access to public information and the protection of individual rights within the context of freedom of expression and thought.

Through this communication we want to send you the statements from our Foundation with respect to the last aggressions journalists suffered in the Argentine Republic.

LED Foundation against the degradation of Freedom of Expression.

Freedom of Expression is a fundamental human right in the democratic development of any Nation of the planet. The Right to Freedom of Expression, that is stated in Section 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and defended by the National Constitution, supports the Right to Freedom of Press.

It has been defined as a means for the free flow of ideas by important thinkers like Pach, Montesquieu, Voltaire and Rousseau. In our country, Mariano Moreno was a strong advocate of the Freedom of Expression and Press encouraging it as one of the necessary bases for the development of our Nation. From the newspaper he ran, the Gazeta de Buenos Ayres, he argued that «People are entitled to know their representatives’ behavior». From the Gazeta, Moreno promoted the freedom of thoughts and the publicity of the government actions.

During the last weeks we have noticed with concern that there have been a series of events aimed to restrict the daily work of the press. As the writer Hans Christian Andersen stated, «The press is the artillery of freedom», that is why the right to seek information and to spread it, is not accepted by many social and political actors.

The censorship in Jorge Lanata’s TV program in Tucumán and Río Negro ordered by provincial officers; the refusal of the Vice-president of the Nation, Amado Boudou, that the journalists of the Senate press room occupy the boxes to observe the session where YPF expropriation was voted; the decision to close the press room of Casa Rosada when the President passes the corridors; the aggression of Psychiatrist Viviana Sala, former partner of Sergio Schoklender, to journalist Fabiana Farruchi of the news program Vision 7; the aggression to the reporters of 6.7.8 program during the symbolic embrace to Courts; the Secretary of Foreign Trade’s anger, Beatriz Paglieri, with the journalist Eduardo Anguita due to questions on the flight of dollars; and the recent verbal aggression of the National Deputy Carlos Kunkel against the journalist Mariano Obarrio, are examples of the refusal to accept the freedom of expression by the main characters of the news.

Those verbal or physical violence events, coming from the State or individuals, are the reason why, during the last hours, the United States Department of State warned on the restrictions that the independent press in our country undergoes. This report is added to those that the International Broadcasting Association, the Report for the Freedom of Expression of the OAS and the Inter-American Press Society, have previously made.

The Mexican journalist Francisco Zarco, a tireless fighter for the freedom of press, rightly argued that «The press not only is the most powerful weapon against tyranny and despotism, but the most effective and active instrument of progress and civilization».

It is necessary to stop this degradation process of the Freedom of Expression and to enforce the Rights and Guarantees set forth in the National Constitution on freedoms and access to public information matters. In order to stop this process of degradation and to consolidate a professional relationship, from LED Foundation we reiterate our commitment with true press conferences, where the journalists are able to ask without restrictions and with the sanction of Access to Public Information and Official Publicity Laws that eliminates its use as a coercion tool on the press.