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Indicators of Risks to Media Pluralism

Media Audience Concentration

This indicator assesses the concentration of audience and readership across media platforms based on audience share. Concentration is measured by using the top four owners in the market.

Result: HIGH RISK

Why?

One of the main obstacles in Argentina is to gain access to data about the Argentinian audience. TV and radio measurements are exclusively carried out by Kantar Ibope Media. Data can only be accessed through the information provided by radio and TV companies, which is sometimes given by other media that belong to the same group. It is therefore impossible to reconstruct the audiovisual audience market in Argentina. In the print segment (especially in daily newspapers), data can be accessed through the Circulation Verification Institute (IVC). In this research, the report issued by the IVC in October 2018 was used.

In spite of these barriers, the search of data published by those media that hired Kantar Ibope services helped reconstruct at least parts of the market (in particular, in the Metropolitan Area of Buenos Aires, Córdoba and Rosario). According to those data, the top four TV companies in Argentina hold 56.7% of the market share, while the top four radio companies concentrate 53% of the audience. In addition, the main four print companies account for 74.18% of the market. Based on MOM indicators, these figures suggest a high risk.

LOW

MEDIUM

HIGH

Audience concentration in television (horizontal)

Percentage: 56,7% (only in AMBA)

If within one country the major 4 owners (Top4) have an audience share below 25%.

If within one country the major 4 owners (Top4) have an audience share between 25% and 49%.

If within one country the major 4 owners (Top4) have an audience share above 50%.

Audience concentration in Radio (horizontal)

Percentage: 53% (only in AMBA, Gran Rosario y Gran Córdoba) 

If within one country the major 4 owners (Top4) have an audience share below 25%.

If within one country the major 4 owners (Top4) have an audience share between 25% and 49%.

If within one country the major 4 owners (Top4) have an audience share above 50%.

Readership concentration in newspapers (horizontal)

Percentage: 74,18%

If within one country the major 4 owners (Top4) have an audience share below 25%.

If within one country the major 4 owners (Top4) have an audience share between 25% and 49%.

If within one country the major 4 owners (Top4) have an audience share above 50%.

Audience concentration in internet.

Percentage: Missing data

If within one country the major 4 owners (Top4) have an audience share below 25%.

If within one country the major 4 owners (Top4) have an audience share between 25% and 49%.

If within one country the major 4 owners (Top4) have an audience share above 50%.

Sources: Agency Anunciar: http://anunciar.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/Insights-Enero-2018.pdf; IVC report (October 2018); Paid TV market share: https://revistasenal.com/tv-paga/turner-lidera-el-share-de-audiencias-en-argentina.html; Audience of Radio Córdoba: https://goo.gl/rDBhRi; Audience of Rosario: https://goo.gl/ChJwBY 

 

TV

TV measurements are exclusively carried out by Kantar Ibope Media. Data can only be accessed through the information provided by TV companies, which is sometimes given by other media that belong to the same group. It is therefore impossible to reconstruct the TV audience market in Argentina.

If taking into consideration 2017 annual measurements in the Metropolitan Area of Buenos Aires (city of Buenos Aires and Greater Buenos Aires area), a concentration index can be estimated. The top four TV companies (including open TV and paid TV channels) concentrate 56.7% of the market. These companies include Grupo Clarín (Canal 13, TN, Quiero Música, TyC Sports, Volver, Magazine and Metro) with 22.6%; Viacom (Telefé, MTV, Nickelodeon, VH1 and Comedy Central) with 15.1%; Time Warner (Turner’s local subsidiaries –TNT, TNT Series, TNT Sports, Space, TCM, Warner, ISat, TBS, Cartoon Network, Boomerang, Tooncast, CNN, TruTv, Glitz, HTV and Much Music – plus HBO) with 10.3%; and Grupo América (América TV and A24) with 8.7%.

Even though these figures are from 2017, the fifth and sixth places in the list are taken by Fox (8.6%) and Disney (8.1%). In 2018 Disney purchased Fox’s content production units. Therefore Disney has become one of the top four TV companies in Argentina based on audience concentration. In addition, it is important to highlight that five American groups (Viacom, Time Warner, Fox, Disney and Discovery) concentrated 45% of the TV audience in Argentina in 2017.

If only informative media are taken into consideration, figures are different. With Canal 13 and TN, Grupo Clarín controls 18.9% of the TV market (excluding other TV channels, such as Magazine, Volver, TyC Sports or Metro). With Telefé, Viacom controls 14% of the market, while Grupo América (with América TV and A24) accounts for 8.7%, and Grupo Indalo (C5N) controls 3.2%. Therefore, when focusing mostly in informative/political TV channels, the top four companies and their open and paid TV channels concentrate 44.8% of the TV market in the Metropolitan Area of Buenos Aires.

Outside the Metropolitan Area of Buenos Aires, it is possible to analyze the markets of Córdoba and Rosario separately, based on the figures of open TV channels in 2017. In Córdoba, Grupo Clarín controls 21% of the market with Canal 12, while Viacom holds 16% with Telefé Córdoba. In Rosario, Viacom controls 18% of the market with Telefé Rosario, while Grupo Televisión Litoral holds 14% with Canal 3. In addition, Viacom and Clarín had their paid TV channels, which are managed from Buenos Aires.

Apart from the high audience concentration levels, there are also high levels of ownership concentration in open TV channels across the country. For example:

·         Together with Canal 13 from Buenos Aires, Grupo Clarín controls a network of eight TV channels (which are owned or managed by Clarín): Canal 12 from Córdoba, Canal 7 from Bahía Blanca (Buenos Aires), Canal 6 from Bariloche (Río Negro), Canal 10 from Tucumán, Canal 10 from Mar del Plata (Buenos Aires), Canal 9 Litoral (Entre Ríos), Canal 9 from Resistencia (Chaco) and Canal 10 from Río Negro.

·         Together with Telefé Canal 11 from Buenos Aires, Viacom controls a network of eight TV channels: Canal 9 from Bahía Blanca (Buenos Aires), Canal 8 from Mar del Plata (Buenos Aires), Canal 8 from Córdoba, Canal 7 from Neuquén, Canal 11 from Salta, Canal 5 from Rosario, Canal 13 from Santa Fe and Canal 8 from Tucumán.

·         Together with Canal 2 from Buenos Aires (América TV), Grupo América controls four additional TV channels: Canal 6 from San Rafael (Mendoza), Canal 7 from Mendoza, Canal 8 from San Juan and Canal 10 from Junín (Buenos Aires).

 

Radio

The radio market is more diversified than the TV market when it comes to media ownership, though its more concentrated in terms of audience. Measurements are also biased (only taken in big cities), private and difficult to access. Yet, when taking into consideration the data from Argentina’s main cities (Metropolitan Area of Buenos Aires, Greater Rosario area and Greater Córdoba area), it is possible to confirm a high level of market concentration. When considering all radio stations (AM, FM, music only and informative) in these three cities, the level of audience concentration of the top four companies is 53%: Grupo Clarín controls 19.5% (Radio Mitre is present in the three cities, while La 100 is present in Córdoba and the Metropolitan Area of Buenos Aires, and FM Mía is present in Córdoba); Grupo Indalo holds 14.6% (Radio 10, One, Mega, Pop and Vale in the Metropolitan Area of Buenos Aires); the merged radio stations of Grupo PRISA and Albavisión account for 12.4% (Continental, Los40, RQP, Aspen and Mucha Radio in the Metropolitan Area of Buenos Aires); and Grupo América controls 6.5% (La Red and Blue in the Metropolitan Area of Buenos Aires, and La Red, Del Siglo and LT8 in Rosario).

When analyzing informative only radio stations, concentration levels are lower. Out of the 14 radio stations considered in the MOM study, 12 are being measured (Radio Del Plata is not being audited and there is no data on Mendoza’s market share, where Radio Nihuil operates) and concentrate 42% of the market. Out of that figure, Grupo Clarín, Grupo Indalo, Grupo América and Grupo Moneta are the top companies and control 78.6% of the market, though they only control 31.8% of the total.

When analyzing market share per city, audience concentration levels (considering all radio stations) are higher. In the Metropolitan Area of Buenos Aires, the top four groups (Grupo Clarín, Grupo Indalo, PRISA-Albavisión and Grupo América) control 62.5% of the market. In Córdoba, the top four groups (Cadena 3, Grupo Clarín, Shopping and Universidad Nacional de Córdoba) concentrate 79.3% of the market. In addition, Cadena 3 holds 50% of the audience. In Rosario, the top four companies (Televisión Litoral, Grupo América, Radiofónica and Universidad Nacional de Rosario) control 74.5% of the market.

Like with TV, concentration can also be assessed based on the number of licenses that each group has been awarded. The groups with the largest number of licenses in Argentina are Grupo América (11 frequencies), Cadena 3 (ten frequencies), Grupo Clarín (11 frequencies), Grupo PRISA-Albavisión (12 frequencies) and Radio Nacional (it features a network of radio stations in 41 cities with over 80 frequencies). To learn more, check the report on the radio industry in Argentina.

 

Print

The print segment features the highest ownership concentration levels in Argentina. The four companies that owned the four broadest circulation newspapers in the country account for 74.18% of the market. Grupo Clarín controls 43.46% of the market of sold issues (through Clarín, La Voz del Interior, Los Andes and Olé); Grupo La Nacion controls 16.52%; the Fascetto family (Diario Popular) concentrates 8.64%, while La Gaceta de Tucumán accounts for 5.56%. Given these figures, the indicator suggests a high risk in the market.

To design the index, data from October 2018 issued by the Circulation Verification Institute (IVC) were used. Those data included the number of issues sold from Mondays to Sundays by every newspaper included in the study (Perfil and Tiempo Argentino were not considered because the former only has issues on Saturdays and Sundays, while the latter issues a print version on Sundays).

Over that period, Grupo Clarín’s newspapers accounted for 43.46% of the issues that were sold. Clarín is by far the broadest circulation newspaper with 32.56% of the market (203,411 issues sold during the month of the survey). The holding also includes newspaper La Voz, the broadest circulation newspaper in Córdoba city with 4.93%; sport newspaper Olé, which accounts for 3.45% of the market, and Los Andes, leading newspaper in Mendoza with 2.52%.

Grupo La Nacion comes second. Its newspaper accounts for 16.52% of the readership (103,233 issues). Behind are the Fascetto family’s Diario Popular (8.64%; 77,240 issues) and La Gaceta de Tucumán, owned by La Gaceta S.A. (5.56%; 34,725 issues). La Gaceta de Tucumán’s figures are high if considering it is a regional newspaper.

Although it was not considered when designing the indicator, another large holding is Grupo América, which accounts for 4.96% of the national readership thanks to newspapers La Capital from Rosario (2.95%; the newspaper is on sale), Diario Uno from Entre Ríos (0.61%), Diario Uno from Santa Fe and Diario Uno from Mendoza (1.40%). The last two have not been edited since late 2018.  

In addition, if we take into consideration the number of issues sold on Sundays so as to analyze all the print media studied by MOM Argentina and to include newspapers Perfil and Tiempo Argentino, the concentration percentage is slightly different. The top four media groups account for 73.3% of the market and the two leading groups concentrate a higher percentage of the readership: Grupo Clarín controls 43.65%, while La Nacion controls 19.8%. In other words, 63.45% of all issues sold on Sundays belong to one of the two leading multimedia groups, and the main newspapers of both companies (newspapers Clarín and La Nacion, both from Buenos Aires) account for 53.8% of the market.  

Media Ownership Concentration

This indicator assesses the horizontal ownership concentration based on market share. Concentration is measured for each media sector by adding the market shares of the major owners in each sector. 

Result: NO DATA

Why?

This indicator could not be computed as access to the financial information (total revenue, operating profit, investment in advertising and market share) of the analyzed companies was not available.  

LOW

MEDIUM

HIGH

Ownership concentration in television (horizontal): This indicator aims to assess the concentration of ownership within the TV media sector.

Percentage: Missing data

If within one country the major 4 owners (Top4) have a market share below 25%.

If within one country the major 4 owners (Top4) have a market share between 25% and 49%.

If within one country the major 4 owners (Top4) have a market share above 50%.

Ownership concentration in radio (horizontal) : This indicator aims to assess the concentration of ownership within the Radio media sector.

Percentage: Missing data

If within one country the major 4 owners (Top4) have an market share below 25%.

If within one country the major 4 owners (Top4) have an market share between 25% and 49%.

If within one country the major 4 owners (Top4) have an market share above 50%.

Ownership concentration in newspapers (horizontal) : This indicator aims to assess the concentration of ownership within the print  sector.

Percentage: Missing data

If within one country the major 4 owners (Top4) have a market share below 25%.

If within one country the major 4 owners (Top4) have a market share between 25% and 49%.

If within one country the major 4 owners (Top4) have a market share above 50%.

Ownership concentration in Internet Content Providers :

 

Percentage: Missing data

If within one country the major 4 owners (Top4) have a market share below 25%.

If within one country the major 4 owners (Top4) have a market share between 25% and 49%.

If within one country the major 4 owners (Top4) have a market share above 50%.


There is no financial data available about the companies in the Argentinian media industry. Therefore, it is not possible to estimate media ownership concentration levels. Despite the lack of comprehensive data, some specific data can be analyzed. When comparing data from the financial statements or balance sheets of the leading media companies, differences can be found even between the largest media players.

For instance, the 2017 total revenue of Grupo Clarín’s content production companies amounted to USD 159 million (excluding internet access, telephony and cable TV operations). Within Grupo Clarín, those businesses that show positive results are connected to the production and distribution of audiovisual and radio broadcasting content. The press and digital operations of the group show negative results.

Comparing all these data with those of other companies or groups in the sector is a good exercise to analyze the size of the players. Although there is no financial information about companies such as Grupo Indalo, Grupo América and Albavisión (among the major companies in Argentina), data from other media could be assessed. In 2017 La Nacion S.A. registered revenue worth USD 6.6 million, Cadena 3 (Radiodifusora del Centro) reported revenue worth USD 3.2 million, and La Gaceta de Tucumán declared revenue worth USD 4.3 million. These figures, which belong to renowned groups in the media sector, are small when compared with those of Grupo Clarín. This clearly confirms the dominant role played by the media conglomerate managed by Héctor Magnetto.

Regulatory Safeguards: Media Ownership Concentration

This indicator assesses whether there are regulatory safeguards (sector-specific and/or competition law) and if they are effectively implemented against a high horizontal concentration ownership and/or control in different media.

Result: HIGH RISK 

Why?

Media legislation – Law on Services for Audiovisual Communication (Law 26522) – included restrictions to concentration based on service type, cross-media ownership and total audience share. It also limited horizontal and vertical concentration, as well as concentration in local areas. In addition, it set conditions to license renewal and transfer, and limited ownership by foreigners.

Yet, with Mauricio Macri’s administration, since December 2015, the industry’s legal framework has been amended by means of executive orders (whose constitutionality has been brought into question) that altered the safeguards under Law 26522. The emergency decree 267/15 increased from ten to 15 the number of open TV and radio licenses a single group could be granted, removed ceilings in cable TV and paid TV services by turning them into ICTs (from a ceiling of 24 licenses with geographical restrictions to a single license that covers the Argentinian territory in its entirety), suspended cross-media ownership restrictions (among owners of open TV channels and owners of cable TV distribution networks) and lifted the banning on providing services to over 35% of the population. Thus, legislation moved away from the most consolidated antitrust standards in the region and from the existing entry barriers to those suppliers that already control significant portions of the market.

The very same decree revoked restrictions on commercial license transfers. Yet, cooperatives and non-profit service providers were not granted those benefits. This has helped controlling groups to expand without violating the limitations stipulated under the Law on Services for Audiovisual Communications.

In addition, licenses were automatically renewed for ten years (as of 2016) to those companies already holding them, and an automatic extension of five years was also stipulated. This mechanism violates the most basic guarantees of pluralism in the access to public discussions. The decree also reads that companies that have been granted licenses can also benefit from several consecutive ten-year extensions.

Finally, the decree no longer considers that cable TV is an audiovisual service and includes it in the same category of telecoms companies (by considering it an ICT). It therefore revokes the rules set under Law 26522. There are no limits to ownership concentration and no obligations for companies to broadcast their own signals, broadcast local TV signals or follow a signal’s programming. “Must carry” provisions (which force TV channel owners to include signals produced by other local companies holding a license) were lifted, thus creating the conditions for a company to broadcast a package of TV signals from a single location.

By means of emergency decree 267/2015, the Executive Power also dissolved those bodies responsible for the enforcement of Law 26522 (such as the Federal Authority for Audiovisual Communication Services and the Federal Council of Audiovisual Communications) and of Law 27078 (such as the Federal Authority for Information Technology and Communications, and the Federal Council on Telecoms and Digitalization Technologies). A new enforcement body was created, and no restrictions were imposed on the Executive Power regarding the appointment and removal of members of that body. Therefore, now there are no basic guarantees ensuring the autonomy and independence of the audiovisual services enforcement bodies. The decree also defines the creation of a new body, the National Communications Entity (ENACOM), under the control of the Executive Power.

The decree amending the law left Argentina’s media system with no provisions that hinder concentration. It also included cable TV in the law on telecoms, thus releasing the companies in that industry from the concentration restrictions under the law on audiovisual services. As a result, there has been no control mechanisms in the system since 2016, as cable TV is no longer monitored by the existing regulatory body.

 

TELEVISION

Description

Yes

 

No

 

NA

MD

Does the media legislation contain specific thresholds or limits, based on objective criteria (e.g. number of licenses, audience share, circulation, distribution of share capital or voting rights, turnover/revenue) to prevent a high level of horizontal concentration of ownership and/or control in this sector?

This question aims to assess the existence of regulatory safeguards (sector-specific) against a high horizontal concentration of ownership and/or control in the TELEVISION sector.

0.5

 

 

 

Is there an administrative authority or judicial body actively monitoring compliance with the thresholds in the audiovisual sector and/or hearing complaints? (e.g. media and/or competition authority)?

This variable aims to assess if the law/regulation provides a due monitoring and sanctioning system for the regulation on audiovisual media concentration.

0.5

 

 

 

Does the law grant this body sanctioning/enforcement powers in order to impose proportionate remedies (behavioural and/or structural) in case of non-respect of the thresholds?

The variable aims at assessing if the law is providing a due system of sanctions to sector-specific regulation, such as:

●     Refusal of additional licenses;

●     Blocking of a merger or acquisition;

●     Obligation to allocate windows for third party programming;

●     Obligation to give up licences/activities in other media sectors

●     divestiture.

1

 

 

 

Are these sanctioning/enforcement powers effectively used?

This indicator aims to assess the effective implementation of sector-specific remedies against a high horizontal concentration of ownership and/or control in the television media.

Medium risk: the authority's powers are not always used in all the relevant

 

 

 

 

Total

 

2.5

 

-

-

PRINT

Description

Yes

 

No

 

NA

MD

Does the media legislation contain specific thresholds or limits, based on objective criteria (e.g. number of licenses, audience share, circulation, distribution of share capital or voting rights, turnover/revenue) to prevent a high level of horizontal concentration of ownership and/or control in this sector?

This question aims to assess the existence of regulatory safeguards (sector-specific) against a high horizontal concentration of ownership and/or control in the TELEVISION sector.

 

0

 

 

Is there an administrative authority or judicial body actively monitoring compliance with the thresholds in the audiovisual sector and/or hearing complaints? (e.g. media and/or competition authority)?

This variable aims to assess if the law/regulation provides a due monitoring and sanctioning system for the regulation on audiovisual media concentration.

 

0

 

 

Does the law grant this body sanctioning/enforcement powers in order to impose proportionate remedies (behavioural and/or structural) in case of non-respect of the thresholds?

The variable aims at assessing if the law is providing a due system of sanctions to sector-specific regulation, such as:

●     Refusal of additional licenses;

●     Blocking of a merger or acquisition;

●     Obligation to allocate windows for third party programming;

●     Obligation to give up licences/activities in other media sectors

●     divestiture.

 

 

X

 

Are these sanctioning/enforcement powers effectively used?

This indicator aims to assess the effective implementation of sector-specific remedies against a high horizontal concentration of ownership and/or control in the television media.

                    

X

 

Total

 

 

0

 

 

RADIO

Description

Yes

 

No

 

NA

MD

Does the media legislation contain specific thresholds or limits, based on objective criteria (e.g. number of licenses, audience share, circulation, distribution of share capital or voting rights, turnover/revenue) to prevent a high level of horizontal concentration of ownership and/or control in this sector?

This question aims to assess the existence of regulatory safeguards (sector-specific) against a high horizontal concentration of ownership and/or control in the TELEVISION sector.

0.5

 

 

 

Is there an administrative authority or judicial body actively monitoring compliance with the thresholds in the audiovisual sector and/or hearing complaints? (e.g. media and/or competition authority)?

This variable aims to assess if the law/regulation provides a due monitoring and sanctioning system for the regulation on audiovisual media concentration.

0.5

 

 

 

Does the law grant this body sanctioning/enforcement powers in order to impose proportionate remedies (behavioural and/or structural) in case of non-respect of the thresholds?

The variable aims at assessing if the law is providing a due system of sanctions to sector-specific regulation, such as:

●     Refusal of additional licenses;

●     Blocking of a merger or acquisition;

●     Obligation to allocate windows for third party programming;

●     Obligation to give up licences/activities in other media sectors

●     divestiture.

1

 

 

 

Are these sanctioning/enforcement powers effectively used?

This indicator aims to assess the effective implementation of sector-specific remedies against a high horizontal concentration of ownership and/or control in the television media.

Medium risk: the authority's powers are not always used in all the relevant

 

 

Total

 

2.5

 

 

 

INTERNET

Description

Yes

 

No

 

NA

MD

Does the media legislation contain specific thresholds or limits, based on objective criteria (e.g. number of licenses, audience share, circulation, distribution of share capital or voting rights, turnover/revenue) to prevent a high level of horizontal concentration of ownership and/or control in this sector?

This question aims to assess the existence of regulatory safeguards (sector-specific) against a high horizontal concentration of ownership and/or control in the TELEVISION sector.

 

0

 

 

Is there an administrative authority or judicial body actively monitoring compliance with the thresholds in the audiovisual sector and/or hearing complaints? (e.g. media and/or competition authority)?

This variable aims to assess if the law/regulation provides a due monitoring and sanctioning system for the regulation on audiovisual media concentration.

 

0

 

 

Does the law grant this body sanctioning/enforcement powers in order to impose proportionate remedies (behavioural and/or structural) in case of non-respect of the thresholds?

The variable aims at assessing if the law is providing a due system of sanctions to sector-specific regulation, such as:

●     Refusal of additional licenses;

●     Blocking of a merger or acquisition;

●     Obligation to allocate windows for third party programming;

●     Obligation to give up licences/activities in other media sectors

●     divestiture.

 

 

X

 

Are these sanctioning/enforcement powers effectively used?

This indicator aims to assess the effective implementation of sector-specific remedies against a high horizontal concentration of ownership and/or control in the television media.

 

X

 

Total

 

 

0

|

-

 

 

MEDIA MERGERS

Description

Yes

 

No

 

NA

MD

Can a high level of horizontal concentration of ownership and/or control in the media sector be prevented via merger control/competition rules that take into account the specificities of the media sector?

This question aims to assess the existence of regulatory safeguards (sector specific and/ or competition law) against a high horizontal concentration of ownership and/or control in the media sector through merging operations. For instance, the law should prevent concentration in merging operations:

-By containing media-specific provisions that impose stricter thresholds than in other sectors;

 -The mandatory intervention of a media authority in merger and acquisition cases (for instance, the obligation for the competition authority to ask the advice of the media authority);

 -The possibility to overrule the approval of a concentration by the communication authority for reasons of media pluralism (or public interest in general)); -that - even though they do not contain media-specific provisions - do not exclude the media sector from their scope of application.

0.5

 

 

 

Is there an administrative authority or judicial body actively monitoring compliance with rules on mergers and/or hearing complaints? (e.g. media and/or competition authority)?

This variable aims to assess if the law/regulation provides a due monitoring and sanctioning system.

0.5

 

 

 

Does the law grant this body sanctioning/enforcement powers in order to impose proportionate remedies (behavioural and/or structural) in case of non-respect of the thresholds?

The variable aims at assessing if the law is providing a due system of sanctions to sector-specific regulation, such as:

●     Blocking of a merger or acquisition;

●     Obligation to allocate windows for third party programming;

●     Obligation to give up licences/activities in other media sectors

●     divestiture.

1

 

 

 

Are these sanctioning/enforcement powers effectively used?

This indicator aims to assess the effective implementation of sector-specific remedies against a high horizontal concentration of ownership and/or control in the television media.

Medium risk: the authority's powers are not always used in all the relevant cases

 

 

 

Total

 

2.5

 

-

-

 

 

Cross-media Ownership Concentration

This indicator evaluates the concentration of ownership across different sectors –TV, print and radio (cross-media). Cross-media concentration is measured by adding up the market shares of the top eight media companies.

Result: MEDIUM RISK

Why?

Since there was no market or revenue data so as to reconstruct the financial concentration index, the cross-media ownership concentration levels were assessed. To design this indicator, it was necessary to evaluate incomplete data about print, radio and TV market shares. As a result, cross-media ownership concentration levels should be read by taking several things into consideration.

LOW

MEDIUM

HIGH

Percentage: 59.24%

 

If within one country the major 8 owners (Top8) have a market share below 50% across the different media sectors.

 

 

If within one country the major 8 owners (Top8) have a market share between 50% and 69% across the different media sectors.

 

 

If within one country the major 8 owners (Top8) have a market share above 70% across the different media sectors.

 

 

First of all, radio and TV data were taken from reports issued by third parties (digital media), whose information is, in turn, based on the reports issued by Kantar Ibope Media. This company controls all the radio and TV audience measurements. It does not provide data openly and it refused to sell the information required to carry out this study. As a result, information on radio market shares in the Metropolitan Area of Buenos Aires, the Greater Rosario area and the Greater Córdoba area is based on journalistic information. With regard to TV, it was only possible to obtain complete information on 2017–2018 market shares in the Metropolitan Area of Buenos Aires. Finally, data on print media was taken from the October 2018 report issued by the Circulation Verification Institute (IVC). Based on this information, a comprehensive analysis of the market was carried out.

To reconstruct a single audience market (which includes radio, TV and print media audiences), the audiences were assessed based on the use and consumption habits of Argentinians, according to the National Survey on Cultural Consumption (ENCC), which was carried out by Argentina’s System of Cultural Information (SINCA) in 2017. According to the National Institute of Statistics and Census (INDEC), the Argentinian population amounts to 44,200,000 inhabitants. A single audience market was created based on the radio, TV and print media market penetration percentages. The results were as follows:

  • TV: 95% penetration. Single audience: 42,056,500 people.
  • Radio: 70% penetration. Single audience: 30,989,000 people.
  • Print: 37% penetration. Single audience: 16,379,900 people.

The single audience market comprises 89,425,400 media users/consumers (as a single person uses several media every day). The assessment shows that TV accounts for 47% of that single audience market, while radio controls 35% and print media accounts for 18%. Using these percentages, the market shares of each company within each segment were estimated.

The reconstruction of cross-media ownership concentration shows that the top eight media groups included in this study concentrate 59.24% of the market.

  1. Grupo Clarín: 25.28% (6.84% in radio; 10.62% in TV and 7.82% in print)
  2. Grupo América: 7.25% (2.27% in radio; 4.09% in TV and 0.89% in print)
  3. VIACOM: 7.10% in TV
  4. Grupo Indalo: 6.62% (5.12% in radio and 1.5% in TV)
  5. PRISA-Albavisión: 6.21% (4.33% in radio and 1.88% in TV)
  6. La Nacion: 2.97% in print
  7. Cadena 3: 2.6% in radio
  8. Federal System of Media and Public Content: 1.65% in TV

These levels of cross-media ownership concentration would be higher if there were complete TV and radio data available. The controlling groups that produce content in Buenos Aires (Clarín, Viacom, Indalo, América, PRISA-Albavisión) showed a high level of market penetration according to the ENCC carried out by SINCA in 2013 and the audience surveys carried out by the Audiovisual Audience Ombudsman, university research groups and the National Scientific and Technical Research Council (CONICET).

Regulator Safeguards: Cross-media Ownership Concentration

This indicator assesses whether there are regulatory safeguards (that are sector-specific or legislation on competition) that prevent high cross-media ownership concentration (print, TV, radio, internet). Due to the different media ownership limits each country has, the result “High risk” must be assessed taking into consideration local regulations and the ownership limits set by national laws.

Result: MEDIUM RISK

Why?

There is a legal framework containing specific provisions that prevent or limit cross-media ownership. As detailed in the first indicator, this legal framework has been amended by means of executive orders that ease the restrictions on media ownership and cross-media ownership. Yet, there are still legal provisions and administrative bodies that monitor the observance of legislation and may impose sanctions. However, State agencies do not fully use the power conferred to them by law in most cases, especially in serious cases. When enforcement bodies are forced to intervene in visible cases, decisions tend to address formal aspects and do not have an influence on the effects caused by cross-media ownership concentration on pluralism and diversity.

Since the amendments to legislation in 2015, State agencies have only intervened in one case of cross-media ownership concentration, the merger between Telecom and Cablevision in 2017. The surviving company has the third largest turnover in Argentina after Mercado Libre and YPF, and its estimated value amounts to USD 11 billion. On June 20 2017, Telecom and Cablevisión announced their commitment to merge. As a result, a regulatory assessment was carried out, even though it was widely believed that the Argentine Government would approve the merge.

On December 21 2017, ENACOM issued resolution 5644/2017 and authorized the operation. As a precondition, the regulatory body decided that, since the companies together exceeded the electromagnetic spectrum ceiling set by current legislation (they owned 220 Mhz while the maximum was 140 Mhz), they should return 80 Mhz within the following two years. The resolution also set the retailer price of fixed broadband internet in those cities where the two companies together had over 80% of subscribers. The price could not be higher than the price the conglomerate had established in the city of Buenos Aires. Finally, in those cities, the surviving company had to share the supporting infrastructure with other providers under non-discriminatory conditions.

The ruling of the National Commission for the Defense of Competition (CNDC) was issued on June 29 2018, almost a year after the two companies had merged. The CNDC also announced that its ruling included four types of obligations and recommendations: investment, commercial offers, network availability and spectrum.

 

CROSS-MEDIA OWNERSHIP

Description

Yes

 

No

 

NA

MD

Does the media legislation contain specific thresholds, based on objective criteria, such as number of licences, audience share, circulation, distribution of share capital or voting rights, turnover/revenue, to prevent a high degree of cross-ownership between the different media?

This indicator aims at assessing the existence of regulatory safeguards (sector-specific and/or competition law) against a high degree of cross-ownership in different media sectors.

0.5

 

 

 

Is there an administrative authority or judicial body actively monitoring compliance with these thresholds and/or hearing complaints? (e.g. media authority)

This variable aims to assess if the law/regulation provides a due monitoring and sanctioning system for the regulation on audiovisual media concentration.

0.5

 

 

 

Does the law grant body sanctioning/enforcement powers in order to impose proportionate remedies (behavioural and/or structural) in case of non-respect of the thresholds?

The variable aims at assessing if the law is providing a due system of sanctions to sector-specific regulation, such as:

●     Refusal of additional licenses;

●     Blocking of a merger or acquisition;

●     Obligation to allocate windows for third party programming;

●     Obligation to give up licences/activities in other media sectors

●     divestiture.

1

 

 

 

Are these sanctioning/enforcement powers effectively used?

the relevant authority never uses its sanctioning powers

The question aims at assessing the effectiveness of the remedies provided by the regulation.

Medium risk: the authority's powers are not always used in all the relevant cases.

 

 

Can a high degree of cross-ownership between different media be prevented via merger control/competition rules that take into account the specificities of the media sector?

For instance, cross-ownership can be prevented by comptetion law:

- by the mandatory intervention of a media authority in M&A cases (for instance, the obligation for the competition authority to ask the advice of the media authority);

 - by the possibility to overrule the approval of a concentration by the competition authority for reasons of media pluralism (or Public interest in general);

 Even though the law does not contain media-specific provisions - it does not exclude the media sector from its scope of application

0.5

 

 

 

Is there an administrative authority or judicial body actively monitoring compliance with these rules and/or hearing complaints? (e.g. media and/or competition authority)

This variable aims to assess if the law/regulation provides a due monitoring and sanctioning system for the regulation against a high degree of cross-ownership in different media sectors via merger control/competition rules

0.5

 

 

 

Does the law grant body sanctioning/enforcement powers in order to impose proportionate remedies (behavioural and/or structural) in case of non-respect of the thresholds?

Examples sanctioning/enforcement powers and remedies:

- blocking of a merger or acquisition;

 - obligation to allocate windows for third party programming;

- must carryobligation to give up licences/activities in other media sectors ;

- divestiture.

1

 

 

 

Are these sanctioning/enforcement powers effectively used?

The question aims at assessing the effectiveness of the remedies of the regulation.

Medium risk: the authority's powers are not always used in all the relevant cases.

 

 

Total (Mean of L-e und L-I sub-indicators)

 

5

 

-

-

 

 

Ownership Transparency

This indicator assesses the transparency of data about the political affiliations of media owners. Ownership transparency is a crucial prerequisite for media pluralism. 

Result: MEDIUM RISK 

Why?  

MOM uses five conceptual categories to assess data ownership transparency in media. Active transparency implies that the media inform proactively about their owners, while Passive transparency means that information is obtained after the members of the MOM project have requested it formally. Data publicly available implies that ownership data are easily accessible through other external sources, such as public records, articles and journalistic research. Masked data implies that the information provided is misleading or incorrect. Finally, Unavailable data means that there is no record on media owners. 

After the different media in Argentina have been classified and evaluated, the results were as follows: 
 

LOW

MEDIUM

HIGH

How would you assess the transparency and accessibility of data about the media ownership?

Active Transparency – 31% 

Passive Transparency – 0% 

Data Publicly Available – 67% 

Data Unavailable – 0% 

Active Disguise – 2% 

Data on media owners as well as their political affiliations is publicly available and transparent.

(Active Transparency)

Code if that applies to >75 % of the sample.

Data of media owners and their political affiliations are disclosed based on investigations of journalists and media activists or upon request.

(Passive Transparency, Data Publicity Available)

Code if that applies to >50% of the sample.

Data on political affiliation of media owners are not easily accessible by the public and investigative journalists or activists are not successful in disclosing these data. 

(Data Unavailable, Active Disguise)

Code if data is available for < 50% of the sample.

 

67% of the 52 media outlets in the study were included in the category Data publicly available. According to MOM parameters, this percentage suggests that ownership transparency in Argentina is middle risk.  Yet, some clarifications are necessary to understand this indicator correctly.  

Most information on media ownership comes from journalistic articles, as it is difficult to access the public records that contain these data. Although the Law on Services for Audiovisual Communication (Law 26522) establishes that companies operating audiovisual media must digitally publish a folder (of public access) containing information about their ownership structure (Article 72), the law is not being enforced. Only TV channels América TV, El Nueve, El Trece and Telefé have published that folder, but virtually in all cases the information is out-of-date and incomplete (for example, the companies that own the media are specified, but not the owners of those companies). Since the law was not being observed, MOM Argentina team filed a claim before Argentina’s Agency of Access to Public Information, which must ensure access to data. However, the agency said that it was not entitled to intervene in those cases. 

In addition, the claims filed before Argentina’s National Communications Entity (ENACOM) and Argentina’s Superintendence of Corporations (IGJ) were fruitless. Although information requests on specific media companies were filed, the information provided was very poor. Again, only the names of the companies that control the media were reported. This only shows a small part of the complex system of companies that media owners create to stay out of public records.  

The only 16 media outlets that provide a direct link between their media websites and their media ownership information are those outlets that belong to Grupo Perfil, PRISA and Grupo Clarín. They account for 31% of the media analyzed in this study and were included in the category Active transparency. PRISA and Clarín are listed companies and, therefore, they must publish detailed reports with their financial information. Sometimes, as is the case with Grupo Olmos, information on media owners is available on the group’s website, but it is not linked to their media digital platforms. Grupo Albavisión’s Canal 9 is an exceptional case: the group provides masked data about its owners, since its ultimate owner (Mexican businessman Remigio Ángel González) registers his media under the name of different representatives. In Argentina, Telearte S.A.’s controlling shareholder is Carlos Loréfice Lynch, an attorney who had no experience in the media industry until he purchased Canal 9.  

It is also worth mentioning that MOM team sent a digital questionnaire to those responsible for the 52 media outlets included in the study. Although the questionnaire was sent twice to Canal 9, no answer was given by the group.  

Regulatory Safeguards: Ownership Transparency

This indicator aims at assessing whether there are transparency and disclosure provisions with regard to media ownership and/or control and if they are effectively implemented.  

 

Result:  MEDIUM RISK 

 Why? 

Like other indicators, there is in Argentina a gap between legal provisions and the specific policies implemented by enforcement bodies. This is particularly evident in areas related to media ownership transparency. There is a legal framework with specific provisions that force license holders to report their company structure through mechanisms that can be easily accessed by the general public.  

Although the 2015 amendments to the Law on Services for Audiovisual Communication did not alter the articles on the transparency and accountability obligations faced by license holders, the easing of the conditions on license transparency, the weakening of the control bodies and a higher dependency on the Executive Power had an impact on the current situation. Now the compliance of those provisions is almost null, and access to them through enforcement body platforms is poor.  

Although there are no official surveys on the observance of accountability obligations, a diagnosis evaluation shows that only 25% of all the audiovisual communication service providers complies with the provision of having a public access folder containing information about their ownership structure. What's more, some of them used to offer this information on their websites in previous years, but no longer show it. Among those who do publish a folder on their websites, many provide out-of-date or incomplete information. Given this context, there are only a few providers that successfully comply with this legal requirement. In addition, there is no penalty imposed by law enforcement bodies.  

 

 

Transparency Provisions 

Description 

Yes 

No 

NA 

MD 

 

Does national (media, company, tax...) law contain transparency and disclosure provisions obliging media companies to publish their ownership structures on their website or in records/documents that are accessible to the public? 

The aim of the question is to check regulatory safeguard for transparency towards the citizens, the users and the public in general.  

0.5 

 

 

 

Existence (E)  

Does national (media, company, tax...) law contain transparency and disclosure provisions obliging media companies to report (changes in) ownership structures to public authorities (such as the media authority)? 

The aim of the question is to check regulatory safeguard for accountability and transparency towards public authorities. 

0.5 

 

 

 

Is there an obligation by national law to disclose relevant information after every change in ownership structure? 

This question aims at assessing if the law provides rules on the public availability of accurate and up-to-date data on media ownership. This is a condition for an effective transparency. 

0.5 

 

 

 

Are there any sanctions in case of non-respect of disclosure obligations? 

This question aims at assessing if the law on media ownership transparency can be enforced through the application of sanctions. 

 

 

 

Effective Implementation (I) 

Do the obligations ensure that the public knows which legal or natural person effectively owns or controls the media company? 

This question aim at assessing the effectiveness of the laws that deal with media ownership transparency and if they succeed in disclosing the real owners of the media outlets. 

Medium: 

some owners are still unknown. 

 

 

Total (Mean of L-e und L-I sub-indicators) 

 

 

(Political) Control Over Media Outlets and Distribution Networks

This indicator assesses the risk of political affiliations and control over media and distribution networks. It also assesses the level of discrimination by politically affiliated media distribution networks. Discriminatory actions could include unfavorable pricing and barriers to media access to distribution channels.

Result: LOW RISK / NON-DEFINED

According to the parameters established by MOM, political control over media in Argentina is low. In other words, there are only a few TV channels, radio stations, newspapers and news websites that are directly connected to a political party. Nevertheless, many of the media groups or companies have close ties with politicians and governments. In addition, even though there is no discrimination based on political issues in print, radio and TV distribution channels, there is some discrimination based on market and competition. This type of discrimination is not necessarily the result of political party issues, though the editorial line and the political profile of the media outlets do influence this practice.

LOW

MEDIUM

HIGH

Politicization of Media Outlets 

What is the share of TV / radio / online/ print media owned by politically affiliated entities? 

Value: no data

The media having <30% audience share is owned (controlled) by a specific political party, politician or political grouping, or by an owner with specific political affiliation.

 

The media having <50% - >30% audience share is owned (controlled) by a specific political party, politician or political grouping, or by an owner with specific political affiliation. 

The media having >50% audience share is owned (controlled) by a specific political party, politician or political grouping, or by an owner with specific political affiliation.

 

Politicization of Media Distribution Networks 

How would you assess the conduct of the leading distribution networks for print media?

Leading distribution networks are not politically affiliated or do not take discriminatory actions.

 

At least one of the leading distribution networks is politically affiliated or takes occasional discriminatory actions.

 

All of the leading distribution networks are politically affiliated and has a record of repeated discriminatory actions.

How would you assess the conduct of the leading radio distribution networks?

Leading distribution networks are not politically affiliated or do not take discriminatory actions.

 

At least one of the leading distribution networks is politically affiliated or takes occasional discriminatory actions.

All of the leading distribution networks are politically affiliated and has a record of repeated discriminatory actions.

 

How would you assess the conduct of the leading television distribution networks? 

Leading distribution networks are not politically affiliated or  do not take discriminatory actions.

 

At least one of the leading distribution networks is politically affiliated or takes occasional discriminatory actions. 

 

All of the leading distribution networks are politically affiliated and has a record of repeated discriminatory actions. 

 


The following groups or companies have some kind of political affiliation:

Grupo Clarín: The group has had good and bad relationships with different governments overtime. Since Mauricio Macri took office, Grupo Clarín’s relationship with the incumbent administration has been good. The communication policies adopted by Macri have favored the group’s interests. In addition, two of the group’s leading attorneys were appointed to hierarchical positions during Macri’s administration. Carlos Rosenkratz was nominated for the Supreme Court of Justice by President Macri. He presides over the judicial branch since 2018.
Fabián “Pepín” Rodríguez Simón is another attorney from Grupo Clarín that is serving in Mauricio Macri’s government. He was appointed as legal counselor of Argentina’s Technical and Legal Secretariat. He is considered a key judicial lobbyist of the Government by journalists from different media. He was also appointed for the board of directors of State-owned oil company YPF. Several columnists and journalists of Grupo Clarín’s media outlets hold executive positions in the National Government.

La Nacion: A group’s shareholder, Fernán Saguier is a close friend of the Macri family. Saguier’s wife, Panela Marcuzzi, was bridesmaid at the wedding of Mauricio Macri and Juliana Awada, the president’s current wife. Also, some of La Nacion’s columnists are senior officials in the National Government.

Grupo Octubre: Víctor Santa María is the Secretary General of the Single Trade Union of Concierges (SUTERH) since 2005. The union owns the group’s media. Santa María is also the President of political party Partido Justicialista (Peronism) in the city of Buenos Aires. He was legislator in the Congress of the city of Buenos Aires representing Partido Justicialista. He is currently is a member of the Mercosur Parliament for Frente para la Victoria (Peronism).

Grupo América: José Luis Manzano is one of the three controlling shareholders of the group. He was a congressman representing Partido Justicialista from Mendoza (Peronism) between 1983 and 1989. He also served as Minister of the Interior (1991–1992) during Carlos Menem’s first term in office. Since then, he has not held other political positions, but has kept close ties with politicians and business people.

Grupo Telecentro: Alberto Pierri, the group’s founder, Director and controlling shareholder, was a congressman representing Partido Justicialista (Peronism) from the province of Buenos Aires between 1985 and 2001. He was also President of Argentina’s Lower House during Carlos Menem’s two terms in office (1989–1995 and 1995–1999). His political stronghold is located in the largest district in the province of Buenos Aires, La Matanza. He plays a key role in the design of Peronist political strategies in his district. He stop serving in political positions after running for governor of the province of Buenos Aires in 2003.

Grupo Indalo: Aníbal Fernández, former Chief of Cabinet of Ministers during Cristina Fernández de Kirchner’s administration (2009–2011 and 2015), was the defendant counsel of Fabián De Sousa and Cristóbal López, Grupo Indalo’s controlling shareholders, in some of the cases in which they were accused of tax evasion. Also, one the group’s managers, Desiré Cano, is married to Hernán Reibel, Director of Public Communications during Cristina Fernández’s administration. Fabián De Sousa rented a property to Osvaldo “Bochi” Sanfelice, who partnered the Kirchner family in real estate operations in Santa Cruz. In addition, Alfredo Luenzo, a senator representing the province of Chubut, was Content Director of Indalo Media in 2010.

Apart from the group’s direct ties with political parties and past governments that have been mentioned, there is a long list of business operations that connect the media business people with politicians.

Electroingeniería: It was one of the main public work contractors during Néstor Kirchner and Cristina Fernández’s administrations. Today it continues to do business with Macri’s administration. Its owners are in prison due to corruption claims.

Moneta family: Raúl Moneta (father) created a financial empire with close links to the National Government in the oil sector, especially during the administrations of Carlos Menem (1989–1999), Néstor Kirchner and Cristina Fernández (2003–2015).

Grupo Olmos: The group entered the media industry after managing the health scheme of one of the leading trade unions in Argentina, the Metallurgy Labor Union (UOM). Raúl Olmos, the group’s controlling shareholder, is the right-hand man of Antonio Caló, UOM’s Secretary General, who has close ties with Peronism, particularly with the Kirchner’s political party.

El Destape: Roberto Navarro is the owner and Director of El Destape, a company that produces journalistic content for internet. During Néstor Kirchner and Cristina Fernández’s administrations (2003–2015), he was one of the journalists that benefited the most from official advertising.

Cadena 3: Gustavo Defilippi is one of the most important financial business people in the province of Córdoba. He is a member of several business chambers, where he meets with important people, including the Mayor of the city of Córdoba, Ramón Mestre (Unión Civil Radical).

Kuarzo: One of the minority shareholders of the production company is Eduardo Cohen Watkins, a close friend of Mauricio Macri. He owns the villa where Mauricio Macri spends his vacations in Villa La Angostura, in the province of Neuquén.

Afakot: Carlos Gorosito, one of its owners, served in the Secretariat of Media of Argentina’s Chief of Cabinet of Ministers during Carlos Menem’s second term in office (1995–1999). In addition, he and Vijnovsky (the other owner of Afakot) founded an advertising company that is hired by the Government of the city of Buenos Aires (Cambiemos) to carry out environmental campaigns.

Indirect ties with the political sector plus economic interests showed the complex system of relationships between politicians and media business people, which ends up limiting the media outlets’ editorial line and economic performance.

(Political) Control Over Media Funding

This indicator assesses the influence of the National Government on the functioning of the media market, focusing particularly on the risk of discrimination in the allocation of official advertising. Discrimination can be either favoritism towards political parties and affiliates of political parties in the Government, or penalization of those media that criticize the Government. 

Result: MEDIUM RISK

Why? 

 

LOW

MEDIUM

HIGH

Is the state advertising distributed to media proportionately to their audience share? 

State advertising is distributed to the media relatively proportionately to the audience shares of media.

State advertising is distributed disproportionately (in terms of audience shares) to the media.

State advertising is distributed exclusively to few media, which do not cover all major media outlets in the country.

How would you assess the rules of distribution of state advertising?

State advertising is distributed to media outlets based on transparent rules.

State advertising is distributed to media outlets based on a set of rules but it is unclear whether they are transparent.

There are no rules regarding distribution of state advertising to media outlets.

Importance of state advertising

What is the share of state advertising as part of the overall TV / Radio / Print/ Online advertising market?

Value: 24% en 2017

Share of state advertising is <5% of the overall market.

Share of state advertising is 5-10% of the overall market.

Share of state advertising is >10% of the overall market.

 In 2018 Mauricio Macri’s administration spent USD 74.9 million on official advertising. The allocation of these funds benefited mainly those media outlets with the largest market shares in each segment. This trend has fluctuated along Mauricio Macri’s administration. In 2016 and 2017, there were media outlets with considerable market shares that received less official advertising since they opposed Macri’s policies. In 2018 there were exceptions in the relationship between official advertising allocation and media market share, but these exceptions cannot be considered discrimination based on the editorial line of the media outlets. Among those media were Radio Continental, FM Pop or Radio 10, América TV and Perfil. They were granted more official advertising than the advertising they should have received on the basis of their market share.

 

2018 official advertising allocation among the top five media outlets per segment

 

Print

USD

TV

USD

Radio

USD

Internet

USD

Clarín

2,527,498

Telefé

3,447,040

Radio Mitre

1,345,592

Clarín

1,333,751

La Nacion

1,902,937

Canal 13

3,377,668

FM 100

875,979

Infobae

1,333,043

Diario Popular

1,278,336

América TV

3,179,781

POP Radio

494,527

La Nacion

1,185,951

Gaceta de Tucumán

160,037

TN

1,866,308

Radio 10

849,370

TN

22,321

La Voz del Interior

529,951

El Nueve

1,984,573

FM Metro

269,366

La Voz

35,430

The National Government’s role in advertising is relevant. According to the Argentine Chamber of Media Agencies, spending on advertising in media, in the streets and in films amounted to USD 1,971,290,944 ($30,693,000,000) in 2017. That year, the governments of the top five districts in the country (Argentina’s National Government, the Government of the province of Buenos Aires, the Government of the city of Buenos Aires, the Government of Córdoba and the Government of Santa Fe) spent USD 479,540,014 ($ 7,466,438,032) on official advertising. In other words, the funds provided by those five governments accounted for 24% in 2017. If considering the National Government’s figures in 2017 (USD 164,096,950), its share accounted for 8%. In 2018 the National Government’s spending on advertising decreased by 50% if estimated in US dollars. 

In addition, the National Government enacted Administrative Resolution 247/16 through the Secretariat of Public Communications of the Chief of Cabinet of Ministers. The resolution was not discussed by the Legislative Power. The resolution creates a platform of official advertising suppliers and sets four rather subjective criteria to allocate funds: audience size, message pertinence, geographic area of the media, and promotion of a federal system of government and plurality. These criteria are not fulfilled in their entirety, in particular, the criterion on the promotion of plurality, since there are no community or cooperative media outlets in the list of official advertising beneficiaries. What’s more, there is no design or implementation of an annual plan to allocate funds or to organize campaigns. In addition, in 2016 Argentina’s Upper House approved a bill to regulate official advertising. However, the bill was not supported by the Lower House.

Data were provided by the Secretariat of Public Communications of the Argentinian Presidency’s Chief of Cabinet of Ministers.

Regulatory Safeguards: Net Neutrality

This indicator assesses whether there is a legal framework that ensures net neutrality, and defines and punishes those practices that violate net neutrality. In addition, it assesses whether there is specialized State agencies that enforce active monitoring mechanisms and ensure the effective enforcement of the law. 

Result: HIGH RISK

Why?

Legislation in Argentina sets specific safeguards for net neutrality. In 1997 executive order 554 was enacted. It states that access to internet is a national interest, provided that all the country’s inhabitants can access a quality service at reasonable rates. This State policy that promotes access to the network was supplemented by a statement defining internet as a service required to guarantee the right of freedom of expression. In 2005 Law 26032 was enacted. It establishes that “the search, reception and sharing of any type of information and ideas on the internet is included in the constitutional guarantee that ensures freedom of expression.”

In particular, Article 56 of Law 27078, which was enacted in 2015, ensures that “every user has the right to access, use, send, receive and offer any content, application, service or protocol on the internet without being subject to any type of restriction, discrimination, banning, interference or degradation.” Article 57 also stipulates that ICT service providers shall not:

A) Ban, interfere, discriminate, obstruct, degrade or restrict the use, sending, sharing, reception, offering or access to any content, application, service or protocol unless there is a court order or a formal request by any user.

B) Price internet access based on the content, services, protocols or applications that will be used or provided on separate agreements.

C) Arbitrarily limit the right a user has to use any hardware or software to access internet, provided that they do not damage or interfere with the network

However, it is possible to see that there is a slow increase in the number of technical measures or terms of use, which actually violate net neutrality and create barriers that prevent the free circulation of content. For instance, the leading mobile telephony providers in Argentina (Movistar, Telecom and Claro) offer plans in which instant messaging service WhatsApp is “free-of-charge.” In other words, there is a discount on mobile data consumption with WhatsApp, but users have to pay for mobile data when accessing other apps or websites. Likewise, cable TV companies offer triple or quadruple play packages featuring a low-cost access to OTT service providers like Netflix.

Although these are just a few commercial strategies, revoking net neutrality policies and the concept of a free and open internet (under the promise of promoting investment, competition, better infrastructure and increased speeds) is better understood as a threat connected to the concrete practices of those actors that play a dominant role in the media market. No State agency is currently monitoring these policies, nor using mechanisms to control the observance of the law.

 

NET NEUTRALITY

DESCRIPTION

YES

NO

NA

MD

Does national law address net neutrality directly or indirectly?

 

 

This question aims at determining whether net neutrality is regulated by domestic law in any way; it also aims to reflect any agreement between countries, as in the EU and countries that are part of the Council of Europe.

1

 

 

 

Does national law contain norms that prohibit blocking of websites or content online?

 

This question determines the degree to which a country’s net neutrality norms prevent blocking, one of the key components of a robust net neutrality framework

1

 

 

 

Does national law contain norms that prohibit throttling of services or content provided online?

 

This question determines the degree to which a country’s net neutrality norms prevent throttling, one of the key components of a robust net neutrality framework

1

 

 

 

Does national law contain norms that prohibit zero-rating and/or paid prioritization?

 

This question determines the degree to which a country’s net neutrality norms prevent zero-rating (of which paid prioritization is a common form), one of the key components of a robust net neutrality framework

1

 

 

 

Where net neutrality is protected by law, does the legal framework recognize any exceptions, e.g. for reasonable network management?

 

This question establishes when reasonable limits are placed on net neutrality protections versus other limits that may undermine its effectiveness.

 

0

 

 

Does paid prioritization take place despite norms that prohibit or limit zero-rating?

 

This question aims to flesh out the extent to which paid prioritization occurs in practice despite its prohibition in law; a number of countries with ostensibly strong zero-rating protections experience this phenomenon. This indicator may shed light on the degree of difference between law and practices on the ground

 

0

 

 

Do other forms of zero-rating take place despite said limitations?

 

Same as above

 

0

 

 

Do blocking and/or throttling take place despite the existence of norms that prohibit such practices?

 

This question seeks to determine how the legal framework in place to protect net neutrality operates in practice with respect to blocking and throttling

 

0

 

 

Are there regulatory or other entities charged with monitoring and enforcing net neutrality protections?

 

This question highlights whether there are authorities charged with enforcing net neutrality protections

 

0

 

 

Have sanctions been imposed for violations of net neutrality protections where these exist?

 

This question may illustrate the extent to which violations of net neutrality norms are taken seriously as a matter of rule of law and political will

 

0

 

 

Are the enforcement mechanisms in place to identify and respond to net neutrality violations viewed as effective?

This question shows the extent to which net neutrality norms actually achieve their goals

 

0

 

 

Total

 

4

 

-

-

-

  • Project by
    Logo Tiempo Argentino
  •  
    Reporters without borders
  • Funded by
    BMZ