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Truck drivers block distribution of newspapers and magazines

(IAPA/IFEX) - The following is a 26 November 2008 IAPA press release:

IAPA condemns the blocking of newspaper, magazine distribution by truckers in Argentina

Miami (November 26, 2008) - The Inter American Press Association (IAPA) today expressed concern at actions preventing the distribution of two newspapers and several magazines in Argentina by members of the Argentine Truck Drivers Union to back demands for pay increases and unionization.

Despite the blockade being halted by the intervention of the federal government nearly three hours after it started, distribution of the newspapers Clarín and La Nación and a number of magazines was disrupted, sparking fears that there might be a show of force against these and others news companies.

IAPA President Enrique Santos Calderón, editor of the Bogotá, Colombia, newspaper El Tiempo, declared, "While the IAPA is respectful of the freedom to associate and form labor unions, it condemns when rights are defended with violence or used as an excuse to restrict other rights, also guaranteed constitutionally, such as the free circulation of media, dissemination of their news items or, overall, freedom of the press."

Local media reported that some 200 demonstrators from the General Labor Confederation (CGT), to which the truck drivers' union belongs, prevented delivery vans yesterday afternoon (November 25) from leaving the printing plants of Clarín and La Nación and the Magazine Distribution Center in Buenos Aires.

CGT Secretary General Hugo Moyano ordered the blockade to be lifted for several days after agreeing to a truce to give time for negotiation of the union demands.

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