The US State Department released its annual report on human rights around the world and questioned the Argentine judicial system’s independence along with a series of abuses carried out by police forces including deaths and torture claims.
The report states that the 2007 presidential elections were “overall very open” and without incident, but it does state that “security forces have occasionally acted without regarding civil controls.”
The list of abuses from the Department of State includes deaths and mistreatments at the hands of police forces, along with abuse and torture of suspects and prisoners by jail employees.
According to the document, corruption is livid in the political sector; violence against women was also mentioned, along with child abuse, human trafficking for labour and sexual purposes and, according to the same text, “the Argentine government or its agents have not committed murders for political motives, but information was unveiled that pointed to the use of excessive police force.”
In the specific chapter dedicated to ‘Freedom of Speech and Press’ the report says that the constitution provides for freedom of speech and of the press, and the government generally respected these rights in practice.
The report states that most media outlets were owned by large, private holding companies that had a wide range of outside business interests and political connections that influenced the content of reporting. Observers noted that some media conglomerates used media as a tool to generate criticism of government policies, while certain pro-government outlets consistently ran stories supporting the government's critical line against specific media organizations and individuals.
On March 20, the Inter American Press Association released a report asserting that the government conducted campaigns against the right to inform and attempted to damage the credibility of the media.
Less than a month later, the Association of Press Institutions of Argentina issued a statement warning that the press was facing one of its worst moments in history, as a result of the high level of intolerance to information and dissident opinion.
During the year critics noted that the government sought to silence dissenting opinions in the media through various actions. NGOs Poder Ciudadano and the Association for Civil Rights asserted that state advertising was used as a tool to support pro-government media and undermine reporting critical of the government.
In addition the government's decree enacting the 2009 media law reduced the number of broadcast licenses an individual or company can hold from 24 to 10 and barred cable providers from owning open-air television channels.