Argentina’s Supreme Court has upheld a law limiting media ownership, ending a four year battle between the government and the country’s biggest media conglomerate.
In its ruling the court said the legislation passed in 2009 was constitutional. It means that Grupo Clarin must now sell off a large part of its holdings.
“The law is now in force. Clarin must divest itself of some of its assets – either by selling them voluntarily, or accepting that they will be expropriated, but they will get compensation,” said media expert Nestor Esposito.
Critics of Argentinian President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner accuse her of endangering press freedom. Her government, which has frequently clashed with Clarin, says the move will democratise media ownership.
Martin Sabbatella, the Director of Argentina’s Federal Audiovisual Communications Services welcomed the ruling.
“Regrettably, we had to wait four years for this because of the manoeuvring and tactics employed by one group which did not want to comply with the law. Which offered constant resistance to what the law says,” Sabbatella said.
Clarin’s television news channel and its other media outlets have reported extensively on alleged corruption in the Fernandez administration.
After the ruling, the company’s shares fell over 20 percent, in anticipation of a major sell off.