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December 20, 2014
Friday, February 1, 2013

Picture no clearer as Córdoba antenna row continues

If federal revenue-sharing is a sore point in Buenos Aires province while the problem of drug-trafficking has become highly politicized in Santa Fe, Argentina’s other major province has acquired a hot issue this week with Córdoba Governor José Manuel de la Sota’s closure of three TDA digital television antennae.

A strongly worded opinion piece by Federal Planning Minister Julio De Vido entitled “Blind hate leads to self-destruction” appeared in yesterday’s edition of the pro-government daily Página 12 yesterday while today AFSCA media watchdog chief Martín Sabbatella will be taking De la Sota to court before the federal judges of his own provincial capital, arguing that the abrupt closure of an audiovisual service to half a million people after 14 months in operation was arbitrary.

De Vido described the governor’s move as “a display of intolerance and hate, creating a dangerous precedent of censorship.” The antennae of Río Cuarto, Leones and Villa María were closed “on the basis of bureaucratic excuses which defy the most elementary common sense,” he maintained. Since Córdoba was one of the clusters for the ISDB-T Japanese-Brazilian technology for digital television, the provincial government was hurting its own industry out of sheer political spite, the minister claimed.

De Vido also dismissed the environmental arguments presented by De la Sota, saying that there had been over 3,500 plants transmitting digital television over the last 10 years without giving rise to any such complaints. The antennae of Channel 12 and Cablevisión and the Fibertel service (all belonging to the Clarín Group) were surely much worse in environmental terms than the closed antennae, De Vido concluded. The head of Radio y Televisión Argentina (RTA), Alberto Cantero (a native of Córdoba), also criticized De la Sota’s move, describing it as depriving the province of “the legitimate right to public information.”

Córdoba provincial Water, Environment and Energy Minister Manuel Calvo replied to De Vido, insisting that the three closed TDA antennae were indeed out of order.

— Herald with Telam

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