Argentine President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner sent the project that aims to declare of “public interest” the production and distribution of newsprint to the Lower House of Congress, where it is believed the opposition's A Group would vote against the bill; however, centre-left parties might join the pro-government initiative.
Several opposition blocs have already expressed different opinions regarding the project, even though the UCR, the Federal JP, the Civic Coalition, and the PRO parties already announced they would vote against the bill.
According to the government, the proposal aims at regulating the price and the distribution of newsprint, in order to address a historic claim from provincial newspapers, which feel they have been victims of trade patterns imposed by Papel Prensa company.
Socialists and centre-left parties could back the move, provided the spirit of declaring newsprint of public interest be upheld. This group of legislators will be the key to determine the bill's future, which, if approved, would be passed on to the Upper House, where the numbers are more balanced.
The bill proposes declaring of public interest the manufacturing, marketing, and distribution of cellulose pulp and of newsprint. The document also says that it is important to highlight that newsprint production constitutes an activity that is absolutely relevant due to its direct contribution to the existence of publications, on which great part of cultural and news transmission depend in modern societies.
The project arrived at the Lower House at 8:45 pm Friday. Previously, Radical Senators Ernesto Sanz and Gerardo Morales, in a rally in Córdoba province, warned the government's decision seeks to alter the opposition's agenda.
They also assured the initiative against Papel Prensa is not a priority for the UCR, and they announced they would not support a bill under any circumstances that seeks to limit freedom of expression.
They think they can get far with their cooptation strategy, but it's not our priority. We can debate it this year or the next, they added.
Civic Coalition spokespersons said the government is seeking to destroy critical media with this measure that involves Papel Prensa, a company led by Clarín Group, but that is also shared by La Nación newspaper and the government.
Even though within the Federal Peronism party members where stating they would analyze the initiative before making any decision, they finally announced they would reject it, since they considered the Executive branch is sending a bill that is based on a history that lacks credibility.
Everyday, new versions appear to contradict the one the government used as a basis for this bill, Dissident JP sources informed. (BAH)