Clarin group clashes with Argentine government

larazon2009Argentine newspaper group Clarín, also publisher of free daily La Razon, is about to lose control over Papel Prensa, the most important newsprint mill in the country.

Papel Prensa produces 75 percent of the newsprint used by Argentina’s newspapers. Clarín owns 49 percent; the second newspaper in the country, La Nación owns 22.49 percent. The government currently owns 27.46 of the mill; state-owned news agency, Telam, owns 0.62 percent.

President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner is planning a total government takeover of the paper mill. Kirchner provides two reasons for this move.

First Papel Prensa is considered a near-monopoly, meaning that the owner can “control the written word” according to the President. Something she would rather control herself of course.

The second reason is that publishers of  Clarín and La Nación illegally purchased Papel Prensa in 1976 during the military regime. A valid reason of course – especially if it was voiced 30 years ago.

It is more likely that the President wants to muzzle the press by taking the paper mill from them. According to the Miami Herald:

The clash between Fernández de Kirchner and the independent media was ignited in 2008 when conservative daily La Nación and the Clarín Group sided with the farming sector in its battle against the government’s increase in export duties.

After a four-month escalation of street protests and blockades, the bill was defeated in Congress, the first time the president’s Peronist Victory Front had lost a congressional vote since 2003.

Fernández de Kirchner and her husband, former President Nestor Kirchner, blamed the loss on the media and especially on Clarín, a former government supporter.

One Response to “Clarin group clashes with Argentine government”

  1. Newspaper Innovation » Blog Archive » Ownership switch for El Argentino Says:

    [...] government is less happy with some other publishers and was trying to get control over paper production in the [...]