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Improving relations between the judiciary and the press in Argentina

Year when project approved: 
Approved budget: 
US$14 325.00

The relationship between the press and the judiciary in Argentina, as in other countries, is one that has historically been marked by tension. In the majority of cases, this tension leads neither to the bolstering of freedom of the press nor to the strengthening of the judicial system. Given these two entities' centrality in the democratic landscape of Argentina, the ongoing conflicts between them adversely affects not just the institutions, but also the exercise of democracy itself. 
This tension stems equally from structural factors as from factors rooted in the poor conduct of the actors involved. One example of this sort of conduct relates to access to information on judicial proceedings. Often, members of the judiciary chose not to share information on the decision-making process on issues of significant public interest, which provokes backlash among members of the press. At the same time, journalists must understand that the very function the judiciary performs in many cases makes it impossible for them to offer information in the same way and with the same frequency that other public actors can. The strain between these two institutions arises at a number of junctures, in some instances blocking the free flow of public information and muddying the judicial process. 
Nevertheless, considering the shared principles enshrined in these two systems in a democratic society – independence and impartiality, professionalism, and ethical behavior – it is possible to surmount the tensions between them. This project therefore proposes to improve the relationship between the judiciary and the press in Argentina through dialogue and reciprocal learning, diffusing the tensions between them in order to facilitate more open lines of communication and more effective press coverage of important judicial events. While the primary target group is journalists reporting on judiciary actions, judges’ participation in the project will bolster their capacity to consider issues related to freedom of expression and access to information when ruling on such cases. It will thereby serve to increase judges’ awareness to these issue areas in future decisions. 

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Beneficiary description: 

The “Centro de Estudios para la Libertad de Expresión y Acceso a la Información” (CELE, Spanish acronym for Center for Freedom of Expression and Access to Information Studies) was created within the Law School of the University of Palermo (founded in 1986), in order to provide rigorous research that would be useful to defenders of these rights in civil society and academia, as well as government institutions, particularly in Latin America. The CELE’s director is Professor Eduardo Bertoni, who has renowned experience in the defense of these rights, and is the former Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression for the OEA.16 The CELE was created in March of 2009 by the Dean of the Law School, Professor Roberto Saba,17 well known for his work defending civil rights, among them, freedom of expression and access to information .

Beneficiary address: 
Mario Bravo 1050, 7o piso, Ciudad de Buenos Aires

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Beneficiary phone: 
(54 11) 5199-4500 int. 1213,
Location and contacts
Responsible UNESCO Regional advisers: 

Guilherme Canela

UNESCO Field Office:

Project contacts: 

Eduardo Bertoni, CELE Director

Project place: 
Universidad de Palermo, Av. Córdoba 3501, Ciudad de Buenos Aires, Argentina