Workers at Argentina’s public news agency, Télam, protested against the closure of the company by the ultraliberal government of Javier Milei this Monday (4).

Employees received a notification in the early hours of Monday morning informing them that they would be “laid off” from work for seven days, but that they would receive their wages for that week. When they arrived at the agency’s office in Buenos Aires, they found the building surrounded by police and were prevented from entering.

“Attack on freedom of expression. They destroy a public means of communication, Télam, at midnight. The national government is carrying out one of the worst attacks on freedom of expression in the last 40 years of democracy”, denounced the Press Union of Buenos Aires (Sipreba) and @somostelam, the workers’ assembly’s X (formerly Twitter) account.

During his speech to Congress at the opening of the legislative year last Friday (1), President Javier Milei announced the closure of the company, founded in 1945 and with more than 700 employees across the country.

The Argentine government stated this Monday that the decision to close the state news agency “Télam” was taken in response to a promise made by the president, during his election campaign, when announcing a future plan for the company.

According to the presidency’s spokesman, Manuel Adorni, in his usual press conference at Casa Rosada (government headquarters), the closure of the communication vehicle “is not part of a dictatorship”, when questioned in these terms about the first measures taken by the Executive to close the agency: the siege of its offices by the police and the blocking of its website.

“This has nothing to do with pluralism of information or vehicles, nor with issues related to press freedom. It is just to fulfill what the president promised in his campaign. Now the president has given the order to implement it. There is not much more to add,” said the spokesperson.

Complaint to the Inter-American Court

Several organizations and unions linked to communication in Argentina presented a complaint to the Inter-American Court of Human Rights at the beginning of February about President Javier Milei’s attacks on public and community communication in the country.

The document points out that communication and freedom of expression were affected by the intention of Javier Milei’s government to dismantle legal frameworks that protect rights that were in force in the country.

In addition to the Association of Community Radios (Amarc) Argentina, the document is signed by the Center for Legal and Social Studies, the National Coordination of Alternative Television, the Argentine Forum of Community Radios, as well as federations and unions of press and social communication workers.

The text sent to the IACHR also draws attention to the growing violence directed at press professionals amid protests against Milei’s ultraliberal policies. The Argentine president’s attack on the public and community communication system in Argentina, the document points out, takes place on several fronts, through decrees, laws and direct interventions by the Executive in public companies and supervisory bodies.

Editing: Rodrigo Durão Coelho


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