Fernandez Seeks Argentine Top Court Ruling on Media Bill

Argentina’s President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner asked the Supreme Court to be independent when ruling on media legislation as Grupo Clarin SA, the country’s biggest media company, questions its constitutionality.

The government on Dec. 7 asked the court to revoke a suspension on the 2009 antitrust law that would’ve broken up Clarin’s media group.

“It’s a necessary that courts are independent not just of the political power but also of the economic powers,” Fernandez said yesterday at a celebration of Human Rights Day at the Plaza de Mayo square in Buenos Aires. “If laws approved by Congress are not respected, what kind of democracy do we have?”

Clarin won on Dec. 6 a last minute ruling that extended a suspension on part of the media bill that was scheduled to end on Dec. 7 and that forced Clarin to sell assets that exceed the legal ownerships limits. The decision was a reversal for Fernandez’s government, which orchestrated a media campaign and public rally to celebrate the deadline set by the Supreme Court back in May.

The company’s shares on the Buenos Aires Stock Exchange rose 18.7 percent last week to close at 8.31 pesos on Dec. 7.

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