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Argentina: Clarín Media Group Forces Removal of Videos

The media group Clarín [es] is considered to be the most important in Argentina and whose holdings include the newspaper Clarín. In recent months, it has implemented a policy of demanding that YouTube close the accounts of any user that does not remove content produced by one of its companies, such as Channel 13 in Buenos Aires or the cable news channel TN. Recently, this policy has caused more repercussions when Clarín started to pressure for the closure of YouTube accounts belonging to bloggers, who used portions of news materials, even though they did so on a non-profit basis or for use in the creation of their own compilations.

The blog Mundo Perverso [es] recounts how Clarín was able to close his YouTube account on two occasions, and now has threatened to close a third account. For now, the account remains active, but Diego F. was forced to delete the videos in question. He writes:

Este blog no tiene fines de lucro, no hay publicidad ni uso monetario del material que se publica, el cual tiene como finalidad informar a la ciudadanía de cuestiones estrictamente políticas. Ninguna empresa privada tiene el derecho a censurar declaraciones de funcionarios públicos, y esto que está pasando debería preocuparnos a todos porque a todos nos afecta: nos están tratando de robar la voz.

This blog is not-for-profit, there are no ads or monetary use of the published material, which has the aim to inform citizens about topics that are strictly political. No private business has the right to censor statements made by public officials, and what is happening should be a concern to those that this affects: they are trying to steal our voice.

Other blogs like Registro Mundo [es] and Banya08 [es] were also sent warning e-mails instructing them to remove the videos in question.

In the next few days, a group of Argentine bloggers will release a statement condemning the policy of the closing of YouTube accounts by the request of Artear SA, the audio-visual division of the media group, and that freedom of speech and the circulation of information about public affairs are guaranteed.

Mundo Perverso [es] has compiled a long list of blogs that have expressed solidarity with him. The blog La Barbarie [es] agrees that the proceedings from the Clarín group are not justified, and that this constitutes a case of censorship, as does lawyer and law professor Gustavo Arballo of Saber Derecho [es] who writes:

Mas alla del tema hay que ponerlo en su real dimensión: es censura. Estamos acostumbrados a identificar la “censura” con algo que hace el Estado contra un gran medio. Pero la naturaleza de la censura es más amplia y en este caso estamos ante una censura de un particular grande (que abusa de su posición dominante) a un particular chico.

Going beyond the issue, it must be placed in its true dimension: it is censorship. We are used to identifying “censorship” as something that the State does against a large media institution. But the nature of censorship is much broader, and in this case we see censorship from a large entity (that abuses its dominant position) against a small one.

The two blogs point to Article 28 in the Law 11723 [es] that establishes that “general interest news can be used, transmitted or retransmitted; but when they are published in their original version it is necessary to cite the source.” This was something that was respected in the case of the videos published on YouTube and was objected to by the Clarín Group.

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