In a move seen as hypocritical by many journalists, Argentine President Mauricio Macri Tuesday signed an international agreement codifying press freedom, after he gutted regulations banning corporate monopolization of media ownership.
The Chapultepec Declaration was approved in 1994 by the Inter American Press Association or IAPA, a subsidiary of the Organization of American States. While the declaration does not address media monopolies explicitly, it promotes the 10 principles it maintains are prerequisites for a transparent and open democracy.
Days after taking office in December, Macri reorganized the two state agencies which regulate media, and toppled a 2009 media law that sought to democratize media by breaking up the Clarin Group, a national chain that was seen as biased in its support for the neoliberal administration of former President Carlos Saul Menem, and hostile to the more progressive policies of Christina Fernandez Kirchner, Macri's predecessor.
WATCH: Macri Removes Head of Communications Regulatory Agency
Macri also pulled regional news broadcaster teleSUR from Argentina's airwaves, in another move that has been heavily criticized by Argentines and civil society.
Don't Silence teleSUR!
The opening line of the Declaration signed Tuesday by Macri, however, asserts that “no people or society can be free without freedom of expression and of the press.” The document goes on to say that the exercise of free speech is not something authorities grant, but is “an inalienable right” of the people."
Thousands of layoffs, a four-fold increase in utility prices and the repression against dissidents such as Indigenous activist Milagro Sala and her husband Raul Noro have triggered scores of massive street protests against Macri in the first 9 months of his administration.