Institutions Encroaching on Freedom of Opinion and Access to Information
There is growing concern about the use of coercive power by the State against dissident expressions. it all adds up—a survey on mass media which is being distributed at internal revenue service agencies (Administración Federal de Ingresos Públicos) and the statements made by several public officials, among them the President of Argentina, upon availing themselves of Government agencies to investigate dissatisfied citizens.
Fundación LED Libertad de Expresión + Democracia (Freedom of Expression + Democracy) has expressed its concern about a form which is being distributed in internal revenue service agencies where the public is asked to answer a questionnaire with twenty three questions in the framework of a survey on means of communication preferred by the public. On July 16, in a statement titled “Sanctions for Having a Different Opinion”, Fundación LED expressed its concern about the use of coercive power by the State to silence critical voices.
The words voiced by the President of Argentina in her speech of September 7, namely that she should be feared, the remarks by the Deputy Minister for the Economy, threatening a businessman upon answering his statements, and the events publicly recognized by the President of Argentina, using the Argentine internal revenue service and other government agencies to investigate citizens who have expressed their disagreement with some of the Administration´s decisions, are a serious restriction of the rights enshrined in our Constitution.
A police state sprawling on society, trying to keep strict control over it and punishing any opinions other than the government’s, contradicts the Rule of Law principles set forth in Argentina’s Constitution and in the different treaties incorporated in it.
Freedom of expression has been severed when dissident expressions not conforming to the government are hunted down by surveillance and information mechanisms created to this effect. The development of the repressive state apparatus, hanging like the sword of Damocles over any opinion opposing the thoughts of the President of Argentina and her officials, establishes a mechanism of fear seriously affecting freedom of expression rights of all the citizens of our country.