Argentina’s Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that the government has a responsibility to prevent media companies from growing so large that they dominate public discourse, upholding a law that could demolish the nation’s largest media group, a leading opponent of President Cristina Fernandez. The approval of a 2009 law aiming to reshape Argentina’s broadcast media industry is a huge victory for the Fernandez government, which has campaigned for years to weaken Grupo Clarin. The group will now have to sell off many of the lucrative cable TV licenses that give it nationwide reach and provide the income that funds Clarin’s other properties.
“As ideas and information represent goods that are distributed through the media, if there is concentration, only some ideas or some information will reach the public, seriously harming public debate and the plurality of opinions,” the court said. “All of this demands the active protection of the State.”
Grupo Clarin is one of Latin America’s largest media companies, with interests in newspapers, magazines, a nationwide cable television network and broadcast TV and radio stations. The Buenos Aires stock exchange suspended trading in the company’s shares after they dropped nearly 6 percent due to the ruling.