March 8, 2014
CFK, Macri differ on press, court reforms
The role of the media was at the centre of the political discussion yesterday. President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner defended the government-sponsored court reform while Buenos Aires City Mayor Mauricio Macri signed a decree “to guarantee protection to journalists and media in the city,” amid rumours that the Kirchnerite administration was going to place the Clarín group under a state trustee. “I will not reform the Constitution,” the President said.
Fernández de Kirchner admitted yesterday that the Constitution “ought to be reformed” in order to carry out a real change of the justice system, but she immediately clarified that she was not going to sponsor an amendment of the Magna Carta. The President said she had championed the court reform bills (most of which have already been turned into law) because she was not planning to reform the Constitution, presumably ruling out any chance of running for a third consecutive term in office.
Speaking to a large audience at the National University of La Matanza last night, the President criticized those who opposed the court reforms and complained about the muscle of media corporations that she said tried to condition the Kirchnerite administrations since 2003.
The President also mentioned the officers who have been convicted for committing crimes against humanity during the last military dictatorship and the fact that the Kirchnerite administration is “the first democratic government to have two women in the Supreme Court.‘
“One must read the Constitution in its entirety, not like some people who read what’s convenient for them and then they reject what they don’t like, claiming it’s unconstitutional,” she said, adding that “some wanted to confuse unconstitutional appeals with injunction measures, with the unconstitutional appeals having a constitutional ranking and prevailing over the central issue.”
On the other side of the political spectrum, Macri slammed Fernández de Kirchner for the recent bills that, according to the centre-right mayor, have threatened justice and press freedom in Argentina. Macri mentioned the court reform, the bill which aims to expropriate 24 percent of Papel Prensa, the rumours about Clarín being placed under state control, and the fact that the AFIP tax agency raided the homes of journalists who work for the Clarín group on allegations of tax evasion.
According to Macri, Fernández de Kirchner has a “clear intention to deprive Argentina of a free press.” The mayor said during a press conference that the national government was “authoritarian” and intent on “censoring journalists and media.”
Macri, head of the centre-right party PRO, said he had signed a decree that will be sent to the City Legislature for approval to “guarantee protection to journalists and media in the city of Buenos Aires.”
Martín Sabbatella, the head of the Federal Authority of Audiovisual Communication Services (AFSCA), stated yesterday that the City mayor “writes and signs whatever (Clarín’s CEO Héctor) Magnetto tells him to.”
Sixth and Last bill cleared for debate
The Kirchnerite administration meanwhile was able to clear for debate the last of the six bills that comprised its reform of the justice system. The bill calls for the “democratization” to fill vacancies in the judicial branch.
The constitutional affairs committees of the Lower House yesterday cleared the bill which contained the amendments that had been implemented by the Senate.
The bill now says the Supreme Court will be in charge of administering who is employed in the judiciary. In the original bill the management was left in the hands of the Magistrates Council.
The Senate had last week approved the reforms after receiving a letter from the Federal Courts council chief Judge Gustavo Hornos, who expressed his concern about administrative aspects of the reform.
The committee vote lasted half an hour, with opposition deputies trying to spread doubt over the real intentions of the reform, stating it threatened “judicial independence” and the “separation of powers.”
— Herald with DyN, Télam