The Supreme Court on Tuesday ruled unanimously against the appeal of a Mendoza judge and deputy, which questioned the legislative approval process of the New Media Law.
In the sentence, the judges ruled that “a deputy is not legitimated to use the judiciary to revise a debate lost in parliament,” and that “it’s not evident the plaintive was unmistakably deprived of exercising his duties as a legislator.”
The ruling went on to say that “no single judge in Argentina has or has ever had before the Constitution the capacity to block the validity of a law relating to everyone”. The decision will put the breaks on similar claims against the new law by judges around the country.
President Christina Fernández de Kirchner, in comments from Tres de Febrero in Buenos Aires province said, “I’m content because today the Argentine judicial system has honoured its own proper functioning and allowed the application of a law that was approved by an ample majority in Congress.”
She added that the new law “tends to democratise the media and access to information.”
The new law was passed in both houses of congress last year by a wide margin after a controversial legislative process. It would replace the existing media law, in place since the military dictatorship from 1976-1983.
Among other initiatives, the new law seeks to allow a wider plurality of voices in the media, protect industry workers and independent artists, and break up audio-visual media monopolies, stipulating that no cable business may own any over-the-air broadcast networks.
The injunction measure was presented by Mendoza deputy Enrique Thomas and later upheld by the Mendoza Chamber of Deputies and judge Olga Pura de Arrabal. The case arrived at the Supreme Court after an appeal by the national government.
The High Court will rule on substantive issues relating to the new law in coming days. Several parties directly affected by the law, namely the media monopolies, have claimed the new law will force them to liquidate parts of their businesses at unfairly low prices.