Saturday, June 22, 2024

ARGENTINA | 21-05-2024 16:03

'Reorganisation process': Argentina's government pulls national websites, state media networks

President Javier Milei’s government takes down websites and state media networks as it launches restructuring; Controversial declaration of “reorganisation process” causes controversy, critics decry “provocation.”

“Site under construction” or directly “page not found” – visitors to the websites of Argentina’s state media outlets are now unable to find what they’re looking for after President Javier Milei’s government embarked upon a rather distasteful “reorganisation process.”

The Milei government said in a press release issued on Tuesday that it had decided to “temporarily pause all social media and website content of public media,” as it restructures state outlets amid drastic spending cuts.

The measure covers Televisión Pública, Radio Nacional and its networks from outside the city, including FM Clásica, Nacional Rock, Nacional Folclórica, Paka Paka and Canal Encuentro.

The text of the release, however, has caused as much controversy as the outcome. The statement talks of a “reorganisation process” of the media – a combination of words that echoes the so-called ‘National Reorganisation Process,’ the official declaration used by Argentina’s brutal 1976-1983 military dictatorship.

Many users on social media expressed their rejection at the label, describing it as a provocation. 

Production and dissemination

Since taking office, President Milei’s government has targeted public media, with the head of state describing it as an instrument of “propaganda” and including it as a target of privatisation in his reform legislation.

All national public media have been placed under trusteeship since February. The service covers state news agency Télam, Radio y Televisión Argentina, Contenidos Públicos and the platform. 

The latest move was authorised by a resolution published by the comptroller of Radio Televisión Argentina (RTA), Diego Chaher. It established that public media social networks and websites will now be managed by RTA’s Digital Media and Institutional Relations Manager’s Office “until the processes and contents of the company’s communication are reorganised.”

“Public media are in a reorganisation process aimed at improving production and dissemination of the contents being generated,” the release states.

In March, the Executive Branch announced the suspension of state agency Télam, whose activities are halted to date. This month it ordered the closing of 13 correspondents’ offices outside this city. 

In the case of Télam, the government has once again extended its offer of voluntary retirement to employees and the deadline for workers to return any equipment in their possession. For the time being, employees continue to collect their salaries.

According to company data, 47 percent of the 770 workers employed there have agreed to the offer to leave their posts while others are maintaining their protest against the closure of the state news agency.

Upon expiry of the extension to access retirement, the government may continue with the preventive crisis procedure which helps it move forward with staff dismissals.

Earlier this month, the government announced the closure of all the offices of the agency’s provincial correspondents in the country. The largest offices, located in La Plata and Rosario, have already been emptied.



The SIPREBA Buenos Aires Press Union this week issued a release rejecting “the silencing of the social networks of both media (Radio Nacional and TV Pública)” and dismissed the measure as “censorship and intimidation in addition to the silencing of Télam.”

It has suspended all of Televisión Pública’s weekend newscasts, together with the cancellation of all live programming, except for some news programmes.

The payment of overtime and holidays at Radio Nacional has also been cut off, which caused all 49 networks outside the City to cancel original programming for the weekend.

There has been state radio in Argentina since 1937. It has one of the few bi-continental stations in the world, that of Río Grande, Tierra del Fuego, which may also be listened to in part of Antarctica, the Malvinas and other South Atlantic islands.

Televisión Pública, in turn, started its broadcasts in 1951 and it was the first television network in Argentina.


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