Wednesday, August 25th 2010 - 04:07 UTC

Argentine government accuses Clarín and La Nación of conspiring with military regimes

The Argentine government moved Tuesday to take over the country’s only newsprint maker, alleging two leading newspapers illegally conspired with military dictators to control the company three decades ago and then used it to drive competing media out of business.

President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner

President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner said the courts should decide whether the Grupo Clarin and La Nacion media companies should be charged with crimes against humanity, specifically whether the newsprint company was illegally expropriated by the newspapers and the military junta.

The companies, with which Mrs. Kirchner has been feuding for two years, deny any illegality in the acquisition of the newsprint maker, or other crimes. They accuse the government of trying to control the essential newsprint needed to guarantee freedom of expression, a position supported by the Inter-American Press Association and other media groups.

Speaking in a national broadcast from Government House, Mrs Kirchner said she was defending “true freedom of expression” and the interests of the minority shareholder, “not the state but the Argentine people”. She accused Grupo Clarin and La Nacion of using the newsprint company, Papel Prensa SA, to impose media monopolies on Argentina, stifling other viewpoints by refusing to sell paper at fair prices to competitors.

She showed a headline from the opposition Clarin newspaper saying “Who controls Papel Prensa controls the written word,” and said she couldn't agree more.

“Papel Prensa is the only company that produces newsprint in this country” Mrs. Kirchner said, “and it's a vertically integrated monopoly. It determines who it sells to, how much it sells and at what price. And so yes, whoever controls it controls the written word in the Republic of Argentina.”

Mrs. Kirchner presented the conclusions of a government investigation of Papel Prensa's history and economic activities — some 23,000 pages in all, stacked in large piles on a table beside her podium — and said her human rights secretary would send it to the justice system for consideration of rights charges against owners of the two media companies.

She further said she would propose legislation declaring newsprint supply to be a matter of national interest, subject to government and Congressional regulation that guarantees equal and fair distribution to all of Argentina's newspapers. Papel Prensa sells newsprint to more than 130 clients across the country. And she said the Executive branch would invest to develop enough newsprint domestically to supply all the country's needs. “This product should not be imported,” she said.

Mrs Kirchner said the newspapers obtained Papel Prensa through a forced sale in 1976 at a time when the military junta was doing all it could to destroy the company's owner, David Graiver, a prominent banker who was secretly supporting the leftist Montonero guerrillas at the time. Graiver died in a suspicious plane crash, sending his company into bankruptcy and leaving his widow, Lidia Papaleo, and parents to face the dictators.

”And five days after she signed (the papers selling the company), she was detained. And during her detention, she was raped, tortured, beaten in the head. The same luck was suffered by her in-laws and other members of their company,“ the president said. ”They had been forced to sell — and their detention was delayed so that the buyers could claim they obtained the company in good faith.“

The owners of La Nacion and Clarin denied participating in any crime against humanity, saying that Papaleo freely sold the company to emerge from bankruptcy before beginning her long jail term and that she never formally alleged any forced sale or fraud after Argentina recovered its democracy.

”Never, in 27 years of democracy, has Papel Prensa faced an administrative or judicial question about its origin,“ they said in a joint statement earlier Tuesday.

After President Cristina Kirchner's broadcast, Clarin ran a headline quoting an opposition lawmaker as saying ”Today the government crossed the line between democracy and authoritarianism.“ A headline in La Nacion declared: ”The President wants an official press.”


26 comments Feed

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1 Hoytred (#) Aug 25th, 2010 - 05:25 am Report abuse
“This product should not be imported,” she said...”

Of course not ... she'd lose control again if that was the case :-)
2 fredbdc (#) Aug 25th, 2010 - 10:34 am Report abuse
Another controversy ginned up by CFK to gain control of the media. It is very funny how they can gather info on a 40 year old case yet the many allegations involving the Ks corruption is not investigated.
3 Pheel (#) Aug 25th, 2010 - 11:30 am Report abuse
It´s said that she considers hiring Tony Liar and Donald Rumsfeld as advisors in order to improve her speech.
4 JustinKuntz (#) Aug 25th, 2010 - 11:30 am Report abuse

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rage at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Dylan Thomas
5 Pheel (#) Aug 25th, 2010 - 11:37 am Report abuse
Looking 40 years ago should be like...eer...for example: defining responsabilities of 1972s murders at the Bloody Sunday. Ooops, a month ago I read something on that at british newspapers...
6 fredbdc (#) Aug 25th, 2010 - 12:28 pm Report abuse
Pheel I am from the USA. So trying to slam me with something British won't work. But why don't you try to answer why the Ks corruption is swept under the carpet and a manufactured 40 year old case is of national importance?
7 Pheel (#) Aug 25th, 2010 - 12:55 pm Report abuse
All right, fred. Notice that this site is something like an Anti Argentina Defamation League, powered by a bunch of british oil interests. So the answers CAN be directed to british inconsistencies, specially if it was not a personal answer but a general one. And if it includes the liar Rumsfeld not for referring to his former boss...
It s useful to dig in history in order to be more careful when being critical of other countries. Not a frequent exercise by the anglo writers in this site.
Should be this the real aim why you in USA are been tought so scarcely of other´s history?
BTW, I´m not kirchnerist but use to talk about that only with argentinos.
8 fredbdc (#) Aug 25th, 2010 - 01:12 pm Report abuse
I would respond if I knew what you were trying to say.
I will tell you though I spent 4 years studying US and Argentinian history so I am pretty well versed in those areas. It is one of reasons I write on these boards, because I find it fascinating comparing the different paths 2 countries took and their outcomes. The most important thing I learned living in Argentina is how great and special the USA really is!
9 Pheel (#) Aug 25th, 2010 - 01:23 pm Report abuse
Yea, it had been great and special for those who lived there.

Not the same opinion about its impact worldwide, as South America can testify.
10 fredbdc (#) Aug 25th, 2010 - 02:05 pm Report abuse
Your tense is incorrect it iS great and special for those who live here but that's how it is supposed to be isn't it?

I guess that is why we have 250000 illgal Argentinians living in Miami alone.
11 Pheel (#) Aug 25th, 2010 - 02:29 pm Report abuse
The tense is the right one. Supplied by many friends from there.

I guess why we have 7000 legal (because we continue being a generous and open country for inmigration) citizens of US coming to live here during last year. Doesn´t match with the description of Argentina that I can find here.
12 fredbdc (#) Aug 25th, 2010 - 02:41 pm Report abuse
Maybe there are 7000 Americans living in Argentina because they are retired, learning Spanish, they work for the US embassy or a US corporation. I am sure NONE of them went there for a better opportunity. Plus if it was the same ratio to our populations you would have 2.5MM American living in Arg not quite the same but I see where you are going at...hahahaha
I lived there for 5 years until I couldn't stand it any longer, it's really too bad because I liked it at first but the crime, noise, filth and corruption drove me back to the USA.
13 Pheel (#) Aug 25th, 2010 - 03:02 pm Report abuse
Last weekend I just have read this
Seems that the yanks interviewed don´t match neither in the categories you mention nor with your taste.

Perhaps I could share many of your views about the virtues of US, including today. The pitty is that you neglect any virtue to others or mistakes to yours and, you know, with people close-minded is very difficult to have a dialogue.
Be happy with your stereotypes!
14 fredbdc (#) Aug 25th, 2010 - 04:12 pm Report abuse
Sorry I don't read maid can you find me an article in English?
15 Billy Hayes (#) Aug 25th, 2010 - 04:36 pm Report abuse
you lived & studied argentine story during 4 years and you can´t read an article in spanish??; someone is lying is this forum......
16 Pheel (#) Aug 25th, 2010 - 06:00 pm Report abuse
His sense of intellectual honesty has the same bias of his judgments about Argentina.
17 fredbdc (#) Aug 25th, 2010 - 06:15 pm Report abuse
Not lying, I had a maid that spoke English so I didn't really need to learn. Although I took lots classes I have forgotten too much over the last 5 years to try to bother again.
18 avargas2001 (#) Aug 25th, 2010 - 06:18 pm Report abuse
La Nacion and Clarin made possible the military dictatorship of the past is an understatement, I say scrap them both from Argentina and start a real national new agency, one with real objective news not one that turn every change into a pessimist rant and a sharade of their ulterior motives.
19 jerry (#) Aug 25th, 2010 - 08:09 pm Report abuse
“La Nacion and Clarin made possible the military dictatorship of the past..”? I believe it was more a combination of the Monteneros and the Triple A that led to the military takeover.
20 katraskin II (#) Aug 25th, 2010 - 08:41 pm Report abuse
“La Nacion and Clarin made possible the military dictatorship of the past..” It is pure rhetoric. “ ...start a real national new agency, one with real objective news...” Again it is pure rhetoric, but a more dangerous one. All dictatorships in the world had dreamed about it. You can have your new agency but please, let the rest of the media inform freely. We can think by ourselves and we don´t need a Big Brother telling us what to read.
21 Wireless (#) Aug 26th, 2010 - 11:24 pm Report abuse
You have to realise that Alex (avargas2001) is living in an institution for the insane in Canada, he wants to Nuke everyone, so I'm surprised he doesn't state here that he wants to Nuke La Nacion and Clarin, along with the Uruguayian Paper Mill, the US, Canada, Falkland Islands, and UK...did I miss out anyone?
The guy is a nut job.
22 Cadfael (#) Aug 27th, 2010 - 08:38 am Report abuse
Now the world's largest marine conservation area.
Is that a trifle inconveient for you margo?
23 avargas2001 (#) Aug 27th, 2010 - 09:22 am Report abuse
to lie is not to inform, to cause chaos is not to inform, papers like clarin and la nacion who are bias to the government need to be put in place before the whole nation and the world becomes anarchist towards your government, we have laws in Argentina too, why do you people think that big corporations like fakland island holdings and el clarin are beyond UN and Argentine laws ?? I support Argentina's right to a free legal press not the bias corporation like La Nacion and El Clarin.
24 zethe (#) Aug 27th, 2010 - 01:34 pm Report abuse
22 Marco: i know it's just you randomly spamming, but you are quite wrong. Not all colonys were crown colony's.

A crown colony was one which was taken through force or war. Settled nations such as Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Newfoundland were called dominions.

Most overseas territories are simply people who don't want independance.
25 Marco (#) Aug 31st, 2010 - 03:28 am Report abuse
Malvinas is a colony, does not matter how many times UK changes the name to sound better in the year 2010.
26 Zethee (#) Aug 31st, 2010 - 07:18 pm Report abuse
You can't force independance on people who don't want it. You can't move people who have lived there for longer than any people in the history of mankind.

You can't do anything.

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