President Mauricio Macri’s new administration is calling for Martín Sabbatella, the head of the Federal Bureau of Audiovisual Communication Services (AFSCA), which works as a media watchdog, to step down due to what many Cambiemos politicians see as his bias as a Victory Front (FpV) supporter.
Communications Minister Oscar Aguad qualified Sabbatella’s tenure as “absurd,” saying that something will be done about it over this week. The head of the Public Media Department Hernán Lombardi stated that:
“The laws that foresaw a mismatch between mandates are logical, that’s what makes the balance of power in a republican system. The problem is that these civil servants did not honor their roles and became government activists.”
Sabbatella, on the other hand, refuses to resign and said he will fight for his position in the courts, saying that, “This isn’t about defending a job title, but about defending the spirit of the law.”
By this, Sabbatella is referring to the new administration’s apparent desire to modify the Media Law (ley de medios), which basically regulates media licenses in the country and also dictates that his tenure should last until 2017. For a full low-down on the Media Law, take a look at this article by The Bubble.
President Macri signed an Emergency Decree (DNU) last Thursday, creating a new Communications Ministry (meaning that Aguad and Lombardi’s positions are actually brand new). The new ministry came into being “paying attention to the growing complexity, volume and diversity in the tasks related to the development of communications and their regulation.”
The DNU also takes calling for Sabbatella to step down on account of his political affiliations to another level by placing the AFSCA directly under the control of the new ministry and not the Executive Power. Despite initial criticisms that the head of the AFSCA is chosen by the Executive Power, many have criticized this move as unconstitutional because the AFSCA is supposed to operate independently.
These changes were made through a DNU and may be difficult to push through Congress because Macri’s Cambiemos does not have a majority that would enable them to propel a bill like this forward easily.
Don’t know what a DNU is? Check out this article for a full explanation by The Bubble.