News portals in Argentina to close over political censorship
Buenos Aires, Argentina — (AFP) — Argentina’s national news portals will shut on Sunday as a result of a ban on social media that went into effect on Thursday.
The move follows a clampdown on Twitter that has resulted in some people being blocked from the service.
President Mauricio Macri has been criticized by human rights groups and critics for taking a tough line on social network use in the wake of the wave of killings in recent years.
Critics of the government accuse the conservative government of taking a “politically correct” line on censorship, but supporters argue the crackdown has led to an erosion of freedoms and is in line with the country’s constitution.
“This is not the kind of country we want to be,” said Maria Rios, an editor for the online news portal Agencia BBS, which was set up to provide the news in Argentina.
“It is an extremely sensitive time for the country.”
The websites of major news outlets including the countrys biggest newspapers, Televisa and El País, are being closed or reduced in size.
The decision comes after a series of reports on social networks such as Twitter and Facebook that alleged human rights violations were being committed by police and government officials.
A new law, passed in January, bans internet usage that promotes “propaganda of terrorism or terroristic acts” and “provokes public outrage”.
The law was supposed to go into effect immediately but has been delayed until March 23 because of a dispute over its scope.
The countrys most prominent media groups, the national news agency and the Televisión Teatro, were among those affected, with their websites set to go dark.
Social media companies say the measures are designed to stop the spread of misinformation and to help prevent the spread, in some cases, of extremist content.
The government has called on users to stop spreading the information.
A government spokesman said it would take several days to determine the extent of the damage caused by the restrictions.