Argentine president moves to control newsprint

By ASSOCIATED PRESS
August 25, 2010 03:40

 
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BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) — Argentina's president moved Tuesday to take over the nation's only newsprint maker, saying two leading newspapers illegally conspired with dictators to control the company three decades ago and then used it to drive competing media out of business.

President Cristina Fernandez said the courts should decide whether the Grupo Clarin and La Nacion media companies should be charged with crimes against humanity — specifically whether the newsprint company was illegally expropriated by the newspapers and the military junta.

The companies, with which Fernandez has been feuding for two years, deny any illegality in the acquisition of the newsprint maker, or other crimes. They accuse Fernandez of baldly trying to control the essential material needed to guarantee freedom of expression in Argentina, a position supported by the Inter-American Press Association and other press freedom groups.

Speaking in a national broadcast, Fernandez said she was defending those rights. She accused Grupo Clarin and La Nacion of using the newsprint company, Papel Prensa SA, to impose media monopolies on Argentina, stifling other viewpoints by refusing to sell paper at fair prices to competitors.

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