|IAPA describes as a “press freedom violation” the blockade on circulation of Argentine newspapers|
MIAMI, Florida (August 20, 2012)—The Inter American Press Association (IAPA) today described as a “press freedom violation” the obstruction of the free distribution of newspapers by labor union members in Argentina during the weekend. The hemispheric organization added that these actions violated the precepts of international treaties ratified by the government.
Members of the Newspapers Vendors Union (Sivendia) and the Association of Distributors of Newspapers, Magazines, and Related Publications (SDDRA), who seek an increase in the percentage they receive for each copy sold, declared a 48-hour strike that interrupted the circulation of newspapers in the South American country during the weekend. Demonstrators blocked entry to the printing plants and prevented the exit of trucks that distribute Clarín and La Nación, Argentina’s largest circulation papers.
The Chair of the IAPA’s Committee on Freedom of the Press and Information, Gustavo Mohme, declared, “While the unions have a legitimate right to express themselves, their actions cannot limit the right to press freedom nor restrict people’s access to the information that the news media disseminate.”
Unlike during blockades in previous years, both, Clarín and La Nación, as well as other media affected by this union action, were able to publish their print version online, allowing their readers to access the edition free of charge.
Mohme, editor of the Lima, Peru, newspaper La República, added, “This serious situation is even more intolerable because there is a court ruling that prohibits blockades of print plants. Still, the action by labor unions has not brought about judicial consequences for the violators.”
He called on the authorities to comply with their role as “guarantors of the right to press freedom.”
Mohme also referred to the Declaration of Chapultepec and the Declaration of Principles on Freedom of Expression of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, among other international documents ratified by the Argentine government, establishing that restrictions on the distribution of media or the dissemination of their messages violates the right to freedom of expression and of the press.
The IAPA is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to the defense and promotion of freedom of the press and of expression in the Americas. It is made up of more than 1,300 print publications from throughout the Western Hemisphere and is based in Miami, Florida. For more information please go to http://www.sipiapa.org.