Argentina
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Supreme court rejects govt's 'per saltum' plea, extraordinary appeal in Clarín case

Bnamericas Published: Thursday, December 27, 2012
Argentina's supreme court rejected on Thursday a 'per saltum' plea made by President Cristina Fernández's administration to define the constitutionality of two key articles of the media law. The court also decided to reject an extraordinary legal appeal made by the government to study an injunction issued by a civil and commercial court that benefitted media giant Grupo Clarín. According to the government, the extension of the injunction was not applicable in this case but the supreme court has now found that the injunction will be valid until there is a final ruling on the case - a process which could take several months. With the court rejection, the constitutionality of the two articles will be analyzed by a civil and commercial court. According to some sector observers, this court may determine that the two articles of the law are not in line with the constitution. Articles 45 and 161 refer to divestment and the possession of media and audiovisual licenses. Grupo Clarín maintains that these articles violate constitutional rights such as freedom of expression and property rights. Regardless of what the civil and commercial court may decide, the supreme court will have the final word on the constitutionality of the media law. The ruling is a setback for government as many analysts were expecting the supreme court to accept the extraordinary legal appeal made by the government. With this scenario, the administration of Cristina Fernández de Kirchner will not be able to continue with the process to dismantle Grupo Clarín, which it had planned to do through the auction of several of the group's licenses to operate.

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