- Title: ARGENTINA: Federal court rules that controversial media law is constitutional
- Date: 15th December 2012
- Summary: BUENOS AIRES, ARGENTINA (FILE) (REUTERS) SUPREME COURT PRESIDENT, RICARDO LORENZETTI, SPEAKING WHILE COURT IS IN SESSION
- Embargoed: 30th December 2012 12:00
- Location: Argentina
- Country: Argentina
- Topics: Legal System,Communications,Politics
- Reuters ID: LVAXCVRHLWOVZ4NE0JTRYPS62ZR
- Story Text: Argentina's Clarin media group may be forced to dismantle part of its broadcasting empire after a federal judge ruled on Friday (December 14) that a law ordering the sell-off is constitutional.
Grupo Clarin said it will immediately appeal the decision, arguing that the law violates freedom of speech and private property rights, among others.
The country's biggest media group has resisted pressure from President Cristina Fernandez to comply with an anti-monopoly broadcast law that would force it to sell off dozens of operating licenses - or have them auctioned by the state.
Clarin challenged the constitutionality of two articles in the media legislation, one of which would force companies to sell off previously acquired radio, television or cable TV operating licenses.
Last week, just one day before Clarin faced a deadline to submit a divestment plan, the media group won a last-minute court order suspending the law's implementation while the underlying case continued.
Friday's ruling went against the company, however.
Judge Horacio Alfonso upheld the articles of the law and ordered that any judicial stays halting their implementation should be lifted immediately.
Critics of the controversial media law have accused the center-left government of trying to stifle dissent but backers of the 2009 law say it aims to do the opposite by diversifying the airwaves.
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