Location Venezuela Venezuela

teleSUR Responds as Macri Threatens to Shut Down Its Argentina Broadcast

Argentina’s right-wing government is moving to take the regional news network off the air.

The government of Argentina’s efforts to take teleSUR off the air in the South American nation may amount to an act of censorship, the broadcaster said in a statement released Monday.

Argentine President Maurico Macri’s administration has “an open interest in disappearing teleSUR,” the statement said, adding that that any action to close down its correspondent centre in the country would be an act of “open illegality” tantamount to “persecution.”

“Is it Macri’s intention to silence critics of his government?” teleSUR asked in its statement.

Argentine Minister of Communication Hermann Lombardi announced Sunday that his government had begun the process of removing itself as a shareholder of teleSUR, a regional television station headquartered in Caracas, Venezuela.

Once officially approved, teleSUR’s televised news content, which is currently broadcast to 80 percent of the country’s viewers, will be removed from the state operated Open Digital Television service, while ending the obligation on private cable packages to include the news outlet.

“We have agreed to start the process of terminating the participation of the Argentine state with teleSUR,” Lombardi told La Nacion.

The exclusive, printed Sunday in the conservative La Nacion newspaper, also indicated that the Macri government could move to close down the teleSUR’s Argentina office. “Once the notification has been made, a process (would begin) to deregister the teleSUR branch in Argentina that was registered with the General Inspectorate of Justice and registered in the Register of Signals,” the newspaper claimed.

teleSUR, which is legally registered in the South American nation, responded saying “Any action against our correspondents would constitute an open illegality,” the statement read.

Argentina has a 16 percent stake in La Nueva Television del Sur, the company that owns teleSUR, whose other shareholders are Venezuela, Cuba, Ecuador, Bolivia, Nicaragua and Uruguay.

The decision to leave the regional television network, which was launched in 2005, was made jointly by Lombardi along with Public Communications Secretary Jorge Grecco.

The announcement also comes as the newly elected President Mauricio Macri has implemented an overhaul of the country’s media laws, which sought to open up the country’s notoriously monopolized media market. Argentines have protested against the new measures, saying they amount to repression and censorship.

Within days of taking office, Macri started taking steps to undermine the country’s Media Law, a 2009 communications policy designed to promote media diversity by limiting the dominance of big media corporations and creating space for smaller, alternative, and community outlets.

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