“Consequently, the role of the press has changed radically. It no longer consists essentially of debating, but of interpreting and helping to underpin government decisions with the arguments it can bring to bear.”

Max Ruchner, Neue Zürcher Zeitung, October 1933

The sentence in the epigraph is not taken from Decree 117/2024 with which Milei has intervened in Argentina’s public media. It belongs to the commentator of a Swiss newspaper, who explains with these words the German Law for Publishers, condemned a few months after Hitler had succeeded in utilizing the Enabling Law in March 1933 in transferring legislative power to himself, thus breaking the separation of powers. Fortuitous historical coincidences or habitual autocratic behavior?

The current decree, published in the Official Gazette of the Argentine Republic, orders the intervention of the state-owned companies Educ. Ar, Télam, Radio y Televisión Argentina (RTA), and Contenidos Públicos for one year, with the possibility of extension.

The new authorities will be empowered to modify the organizational and functional structure, and staff contracts, as well as to review the administration of procurement and contracting. The provision aims to reduce the structure (“rationalize” in neoliberal jargon), i.e. to lay off staff, cancel programs and projects, and even close offices, for it to make the sale more palatable to potential investors. Among these, of course, is the hegemonic media group Clarín, which already holds a dominant position in broadcast and cable television, radio and print media, in addition to its businesses in mobile and fixed telephony and Internet connectivity.

Beyond the privatising commercial bias, the measure aims to discipline journalists in the public sphere, under the explicit threat of losing their fountain of work. The label of ñoqui[1], caste, militant journalist, even coup-monger, will be some of the stigmas used to silence any voice critical of government policy, by means of explicit censorship or self-censorship.

But the attack on freedom of expression and plurality of information in Argentina is not restricted to this offensive against the public media and its workers. The current government’s contempt for democratic communication is total and unfolds on several fronts.


One of the first measures of the Milei administration was to proclaim the total elimination of official media advertising for one year. The cut, announced as part of the austerity policy, does not affect private and community media alike. If the official propaganda of previous governments was mostly directed to the private sphere and digital media, the dependence on these funds of media that do not operate under the primacy of profit is much greater.

The president of the Argentine Forum of Community Radio Broadcasters, Juan Delú, said: “With this argument – that there is no money in the state – there will be some groups that will continue to be financed in other ways and those that will fall are other sectors. We are heading towards the monopolisation of information in public discourse”.

It is a well-known fact that certain journalists and pro-power media, in addition to advertising paid for by large companies, receive obscure contributions, supposedly in the form of consultancy or advisory services, or simply in envelopes that nobody sends, controls or receives, at least formally.

At the same time, the so-called “Omnibus Law” incorporated in its mobile articles – determined by the negotiation of votes in Congress – the suppression of the Competitive Development Fund for Audiovisual Media (FOMECA), which promotes popular, community, cooperative, associative, rural and native peoples’ communication projects and represents a cornerstone in their financing.

The intention to curtail the plurality of information is made clear by the fact that this fund, created by Law 26.522 on Audiovisual Communication Services, condemned in 2009 during the presidential term of Cristina Fernández, is supported by a tax paid by all media outlets, i.e. it does not represent an extra outlay from the national treasury.

Likewise, the mammoth law “Bases and starting points for the Freedom of Argentines” (or “Omnibus Law”, due to its extension and the matters on which it intends to legislate, several of which are contrary to the current National Constitution) also expresses the intention to eliminate the Office of the Public Defender of Audiovisual Services, by repealing articles 19 and 20 of the aforementioned Law 26.522 (Media Law).

In its submission to the IACHR and the Rapporteurship on Freedom of Expression, the Defensoría stated that “If this legislative proposal succeeds, it will imply a violation of the principle of non-regression in the field of human rights and, in particular, a violation of the rights of audiences to freedom of expression”.

Entanglement, misinformation and repression

The new government’s preferred vehicles for propaganda and counter-propaganda are the digital platforms, the misnamed “social networks”, in reality, owned by powerful transnational economic conglomerates.

In this field, the government has hired a large number of digital operators (the famous trolls), who instantly attack any criticism, under anonymous accounts or pretend to be activists, which is undoubtedly in turn supported by the hiring of applications and monitoring companies on the publications made on these platforms.

In addition to the domination of the public narrative, the control pursues even more baleful ends. As revealed by a tweet (later deleted) on the verified account of the current Security Minister, which stated that the source of the attacks directed at the president via the network would be investigated and that “with the FORCE, if necessary, we will enter every house to verify the illegal possession of any type of weapons that could threaten the republic”. A tenebrous discourse that reveals the mental and political direction of those who write or send them.

Far from any interpretative speculation, the protocol indicated by Minister Bullrich escalated, in the second session of the debate on the Omnibus Law, into repression of journalists trying to cover the mobilization of protest outside Congress and other demonstrators. Almost fifty people were injured.

On the other hand, government communication, in addition to the press conferences given by spokesman Manuel Adorni, is mainly directed through the X network to Milei’s supporters, who return praise for his actions, strengthening the characteristic fizz effect. With his messages on this network, now the exclusive property of South African tycoon Elon Musk, the president emulates the behavior of the former president and now Republican pre-candidate Donald Trump or the recently re-elected Nayib Bukele, all recognized defenders of the cult of one-man democracy if such a thing is possible.

The aforementioned Musk is, on the other hand, one of the main parties interested in buying – at a convenient, low, or vile price, it is understood – ARSAT, an Argentine state-owned company that provides data transmission, telephony, and television services, guaranteeing communication sovereignty and access to connectivity oriented towards social equity.

Thus, amid a panorama of generalized confusion, which the current libertarian government is intentionally increasing, one thing is more than clear. As far as communication is concerned, freedom is not only not advancing, it is being downgraded.

Corollary at the end of the edition

While the reporter was trying to put the final touches to the article, the Chamber of Deputies decided to return the Omnibus law to the committee, due to differences in the approval of its detailed text, thus halting, at least for the time being, its half-sanction, before it passed to the Senate for its treatment.

Meanwhile, the Argentine president wept at the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem. It is not known at this stage whether his tears are related to the opposition to his policies, or whether they are the result of real regret for previous actions.

[1] Gnocchi (gnocchi in Italian) is a pasta usually eaten in Argentine households on the 29th of every month, as it is cheap and therefore suitable for the last days of the month when family incomes are low (nowadays, it should be eaten more often…). This pejorative nickname refers to those well-off employees who appear once a month at their place of work, close to their payday.