Argentines Camp at Telam Headquarters to Avoid Its Dissolution

Argentines protest in front of the Telam facilities in Buenos Aires, June 8, 2024. Photo: X/ @RioNegroEnFoto1

June 11, 2024 Hour: 12:20 pm

“If we stop demanding, we will give Milei the freedom to downsize the State,” said a photographic archivist.

On Tuesday, the employees of the Argentine news agency Télam marked 100 days of camping outside the company’s headquarters to demand that President Javier Milei retract his plan to close it down.


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After assuming the presidency, the far-right politician announced the closure of Télam, arguing that the news agency had been used as a propaganda tool by the Kirchnerist party and was financially unviable.

Following his announcement, the workers found the agency’s premises fenced off and guarded by federal police, preventing them from entering and carrying out their duties. In response, they have staged protests and camped in front of the facilities, supported by unions and various freedom of expression advocacy organizations.

Alongside the police barricades that block access to the agency’s headquarters in Buenos Aires, employees gather in a permanent vigil under the shelter of canvas tents erected since March 4.

“We were excused from work with pay, but we want to return to provide pluralistic, federal information with a gender perspective,” said Ornella Rapallini, a Télam journalist.

Although the Argentine law prevents the dissolution of state-owned companies without Congressional authorization, the Milei administration could bypass this requirement if the Senate approves reforms included in the “Basic Law,” which would grant legislative powers to the far-right president.

Under the pretext of achieving “zero fiscal deficit,” the Milei administration shut down Télam’s newsrooms, notified all workers that they were “excused from providing services” and would receive weekly payments, and encouraged the voluntary resignations of at least 340 out of 770 employees.

According to the Argentine president, Télam had annual losses of about US$22 million. However, the 2023 budget indicated that this company had expenses of US$20 million and revenues of US$18 million. The payroll for workers only represented US$7 million. Besides being the largest Latin American news agency, Télam offered advertising services and managed advertising for various private media outlets.

“If we stop demanding, we will give him the freedom to downsize the State and destroy institutions where workers’ rights are guaranteed,” said Sabino Cabrera, a photographic archivist at Télam and a delegate of the Buenos Aires Press Union.

Source: EFE

teleSUR/ JF

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