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AMARC welcomes bill limiting media concentration

(AMARC/IFEX) - Argentina, 21 April 2009 - AMARC's Latin America and Caribbean office (AMARC-ALC) has welcomed a bill on Audiovisual Communication Services and the government's openness to a participatory process of forums on the suggested text.

The bill is aimed at regulating audiovisual broadcasters such as radio and television stations. It is based on a community initiative entitled "21 Basic Points for the Right to Communication", put together by the Coalition for Democratic Broadcasting (Coalición por una Radiodifusión Democrática), which includes more than one hundred labour, academic and professional associations and organisations.

According to AMARC-ALC, the passing of the bill would signify an advance in the democratisation of media outlets in Argentina and bolster the right to freedom of expression and information.

Some of the welcome features of the bill include: increased access to broadcasting services; measures to ensure equal opportunity and equitable access to transmission methods for media, be they governmental, private or non-profit media; reserving 33% of the broadcasting spectrum for non-profit media outlets; limits placed on the concentration and ownership of audiovisual media; various mechanisms to ensure the public's participation and oversight of these manners, such as the creation of consultative councils.

AMARC-ALC points to the need for an extensive and democratic debate that will result in the passing of a law to replace the Broadcasting Law (Ley de Radiodifusión). The current law was implemented under the dictatorship and is therefore lacking in legitimacy. Moreover it discriminates against community-based and non-profit media outlets and has led to media concentration.

AMARC-ALC will continue to analyse the bill in detail and ensure that its comments and proposals are submitted to the authorities.

For the full text of the press release (in Spanish only), see: http://legislaciones.item.org.uy/index?q=node/948

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