Did you vote for “Hope and Change” last November?  Change is another word for reform.  Some socialist change and reform Argentina-style:

A drive by Argentina’s president to overhaul an outdated media law is arousing suspicions she wants to punish the country’s biggest media group and hush her critics during an election campaign.

President Cristina Fernandez, a center-leftist, says the proposed reform of media regulations dating from a 1976-1983 military dictatorship will strengthen democracy by reducing the control of a handful of companies that dominate broadcasting.

“All Argentines have the right to expression and to cultural assets that can’t be monopolized by one sector or one company,” she said as she launched a draft reform bill last month.

The reform would limit the number of broadcast licenses one company can hold locally and nationally, increase the number of soccer games shown on free channels instead of pay-TV, and guarantee a share of the airwaves for nonprofit groups.

How do you say Fairness Doctrine in Spanish?

This move is aimed at one particular company.

Much of the suspicion over the government’s motives for the reform stems from its falling out with Grupo Clarin, one of Latin America’s largest media conglomerates and the company that stands to lose most from the proposed reform.

Fernandez and her husband and predecessor Nestor Kirchner used to have a harmonious relationship with Grupo Clarin’s media outlets, which include top-selling daily newspaper Clarin and the TN television news network. The group also owns cable TV and Internet providers and radio stations.

But last year the relationship ruptured over media coverage of a farmers’ tax revolt against the government. Grupo Clarin media were critical of Fernandez during the conflict and at government rallies her supporters waved banners saying “Clarin Lies,” and “TN: Totally Negative.”

So the need for reform didn’t become apparent to the Argentinian government until the company started criticizing it.  Funny how that works.

Proponents see it as freedom from the tyranny of the private sector:

But many leftist groups and academics have welcomed the government’s drive to challenge the status quo.

“You can’t have a society held hostage by the opinions of four companies that own the media,” said Victor Ego Ducrot, a journalism professor at La Plata university.

Oh, I see.  Government control of what people may hear is more conducive to freedom than actually allowing them the freedom to choose what they listen to.  Lefties are so much alike all over the world, aren’t they?

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