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Argentine government wins control of newsprint

MICHAEL WARREN AP 12/23/2011 20:03
Argentine government wins control of newsprint - media - Argentine

The paper used to produce newspapers came under government control in Argentina on Thursday, in a long-sought victory for President Cristina Fernandez in her dispute with the country's opposition media.

Argentina's senate, which is controlled by Fernandez's allies, voted 41-26 to control newsprint's manufacture, sale and distribution to media friends and foes alike.

Newsprint has been a key issue in the never-ending battles between the government and opposition newspapers. Since the early days of the 1976-1983 dictatorship, Argentina's only newsprint provider is Papel Prensa, a joint venture majority-owned by its dominant newspapers, Clarin and La Nacion. The government has been a minority shareholder.

Vice President Amadou Boudou said the law "will improve the quality of information and the plurality of opinions in Argentina."

Ruling party Sen. Anibal Fernandez said Clarin and la Nacion use 71 percent of the newsprint for their media groups and ensure a competitive advantage by distributing the other 29 percent to 168 other media organizations, who must either pay a 15 percent markup or import what they need.