April 17, 2014

Broadcast media law

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Order of Clarín channels brings AFSCA headache

The order of the channels on Clarín’s cable television service could end up complicating the negotiations between the country’s largest media conglomerate and the AFSCA media watchdog led by Martín Sabbatella.

After the Supreme Court declared the Broadcast Media Law constitutional on October 29, Clarín decided to present a plan to adapt to the requirements established in the bill. Though the highest tribunal had declared that the deadline to present that proposal was over, Sabbatella left a door open for the media conglomerate to present a disinvestment plan by declaring that Fintech, which owns a 40 percent share in the Clarín company Cablevisión, had presented a plan to adapt to the law in December. On November 4, Clarín group filed a presentation splitting the media empire into six units.

Sources from the AFSCA watchdog yesterday told the Herald that representatives from the media group had gone to their offices yesterday. Clarín’s Regulatory Affairs manager attended the meeting, who also heads the Centre for Studies of the Development of Telecommunications and The Access to The Information Society in Latin America (CERTAL). Clarín group’s spokesman, Martín Etchevers, declined to confirm the meeting.

Hours later, Sabbatella issued a news release urging the group to fulfill with its obligation of carrying all the channels mandated by the govenrment, such as Paka-Paka the public-television channel for children.

“How can it be possible that a group says that it wants to adapt to the requirements of the Media Law but simultaneously rejects to obey part of it?,” Sabbatella wondered.

AFSCA sources said that Clarín group is compelled to include that channel and others among the ones it offers to clients.

In June, AFSCA filed a lawsuit against the group’s authorities for not including the channels in the order mandated by the watchdog, as was ordered by National Administrative Appeals Court. However, sources from the media group rejected that, saying the order had been frozen by a judge.

Last week, Sabbatella said that all the remaining adaptation plans would be analyzed before the end of the year and that he wanted all the media group to adjust to the Media Law by the half of next year.

In addition to Clarín, the AFSCA will have to analyze the plans presented by Clarín, Telecentro, Uno, Prisa and Telefé.

One more term

President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner has confirmed Sabbatella in his position for another term, according to yesterday’s Official Gazette.

“We are happy to have the president’s confidence,” Sabbatella celebrated. Ignacio Saavedra will also remain in his position, representing the Executive brach at AFSCA.

Herald staff

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