Argentina's government warned top media giant Clarin it was violating antimonopoly laws and that if it did not sell some radio and TV licenses they would be auctioned off next month.
The license auctioning and transfer process will begin December 7 for all media companies that have not submitted a licensing law plan compliance; only Clarin has refused to do so," top media regulator Martin Sabbatella told a news conference yesterday.
Clarin, the country's largest daily as well as a broadcast and cable TV heavyweight with sales of USD 2 billion in 2011, believes President Cristina Kirchner is trying to silence an opposition press.
In paid spots, the company says: "The situation is as clear as can be, despite the confusion. The government does not see it as being in its interest for an independent (media) group to report on what is happening."
It is just the latest batch of fireworks between the president and Clarin.
The media group said it went to court "because the Constitution says it can. And Justice authorities are reviewing two articles of the (media antimonopoly) law because they don't seem very fair."
Clarin says that it believes the law forcing it to sell off licenses is an attack on its right to own private property and its freedom of speech.
Since she took office in 2007, President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner has sparred frequently with Clarin, which has been among her administration's most dogged critics.
Kirchner also earlier filed a complaint against the management of Clarin and another newspaper, La Nacion, over the circumstances surrounding their acquisition of a printing facility that operated during the 1976-1983 military dictatorship.