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Vendors block distribution of two newspapers in Argentina

The distribution of the newspapers Clarín and La Nación were blocked in Buenos Aires, Argentina by members of the Newspaper and Magazine Vendors Union in the early morning of Monday, Oct. 29, reported Clarín. Around 100 activists piled tires in the street to block the exit of trucks from the printing press factories, the newspaper added.

Opposition deputies condemned that, despite a court decision ordering the free circulation of print media, police officers on the scene "merely observed the blockade." The protest originated with a petition to increase the vendors' commission from the sale of the newspapers.

The Newspaper and Magazine Vendors Union of Buenos Aires and the Province of Buenos Aires (SIVENDIA in Spanish) called the surprise barricade a success on its website. Omar Plaini, SIVENDIA secretary general, said the struggle would not end until the newspapers return the percentage "that they have taken from the vendors."

Neither newspaper was distributed in Buenos Aires, the capital, or the metropolitan area Monday. Beyond the morning editions printed in the barricaded plants--Clarín, Clarín, Olé, Muy, and La Nación--other newspaper distributors joined the protest and refused to put out the remaining publications for sale in the city, reported Clarín.

The Inter American Press Association (IAPA), decried the blockade, considering it an attack on freedom of the press and an act "against the citizens’ right to receive information and opinions that those papers had to offer them."

IAPA remembered that this is not the first time that the free flow of information was blocked in Argentina. In 2011, there were five blockades of newspapers and this latest instance was the second time in the last three months, said IAPA's statement. The group went on to criticize the "passive conduct" of President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner's government. Plaini said her government was "with us in this."

The Association of Argentine Journalistic Entities called the blockade a "grave attack on the right of citizens to inform themselves through the sources they choose," reported the website Rionegro. The group noted that the event was a criminal offense, complained about the police's inaction and asked the authorities' "immediate intervention" in defense of freedom of expression, added the website.


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