Global Freedom of Expression

Editorial Río Negro S.A. v. Neuquén

Closed Expands Expression

Key Details

  • Mode of Expression
    Press / Newspapers
  • Date of Decision
    May 9, 2007
  • Outcome
    Administrative Measures/ Administrative Sanctions to protect FoE
  • Case Number
    Fallos: 330:3908
  • Region & Country
    Argentina, Latin-America and Caribbean
  • Judicial Body
    Supreme (court of final appeal)
  • Type of Law
    Administrative Law, Constitutional Law, International/Regional Human Rights Law
  • Themes
    Content Regulation / Censorship, Defamation / Reputation, Licensing / Media Regulation
  • Tags
    Media Pluralism, Public Interest, Publisher, Advertising

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Case Analysis

Case Summary and Outcome

The publisher Río Negro, brought a case against the province of Neuquén for lack of inclusion in the distribution of state advertising, claiming that it was due to the news Río Negro published negatively affecting the government. The Argentine Supreme Court understood that an arbitrary denial of state advertising indirectly violated the rights of freedom of expression and freedom of the press.


The publisher Río Negro brought a case against the province of Neuquén, claiming that the government had purposefully disrupted the company’s grant of state advertising in response to its publication of an article that accused certain public officials of illegal acts. Río Negro stated that this disruption had caused them economic distress, and it was intended to lead to future self-censorship. The province claimed that the new distribution of state advertising, which did not include Río Negro, was based on the financial and broader informational goals of the province.

Decision Overview

Por Mayoría (Majority Opinion). The Court found that although there was no subjective right to a portion of state advertising revenue, the government should establish and publish the clear and rightful rules that would guide its distribution. The Court further determined that, because the government of Neuquén was unable to prove that the its denial of state advertising to publisher Río Negro was not arbitrary and lacked the intent of censorship, the interruption of advertising distributions to the company constituted an indirect and subtle form of restriction on the freedoms of expression and information.

Juez Fayt wrote an opinion. Jueces Petracchi and Argibay joined in a dissenting opinion. Juez Maqueda wrote a dissenting opinion.

Decision Direction

Quick Info

Decision Direction indicates whether the decision expands or contracts expression based on an analysis of the case.

Expands Expression

The Court understood that the freedom of expression was jeopardized through indirect means when all media outlets were not given equal consideration in the distribution of state advertising.

Global Perspective

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Global Perspective demonstrates how the court’s decision was influenced by standards from one or many regions.

Table of Authorities

Related International and/or regional laws

  • Rep., OAS, Annual Report of the IACmHR (2003)
  • IACtHR, Compulsory Membership in an Association Prescribed by Law for the Practice of Journalism, ser. A No. 5 (1985)
  • IACtHR, The Last Temptation of Christ, ser. C No. 73 (2001)
  • IACtHR, Bronstein v. Peru, ser. C No. 74 (2001)
  • IACtHR, Herrera Ulloa v. Costa Rica, ser. C No. 107 (2004)
  • ECtHR, Lingens v. Austria, App. No. 9815/82 (1986)
  • OAS, Chapultepec Declaration (03/11/1994)
  • ACHR, art. 13

National standards, law or jurisprudence

  • Arg., Sup., La Nación S.A., Fallos: 316:2845 (1993)
  • Arg., Sup., Emisiones Platenses S.A., Fallos: 320:1191 (1997)
  • Arg., Sup., Eduardo Pérez, Fallos: 257:308 (1963)
  • Arg., Sup., Indalia Ponzetti de Balbín v. Editorial Atlántida S.A., Fallos: 306:1892 (1984)
  • Arg., Sup., García Mutto Antonio E. v. Donatti Carlos A., Fallos: 269:189 (1967)
  • Arg., Sup., Manuel Eduardo Abad, Fallos: 315:632 (1992)
  • Arg., Sup., Raúl Sánchez Abelenda v. Ediciones de la Urraca S.A., Fallos: 311:2553 (1988)
  • Arg., Sup., Miguel Angel Ekmekdjián v. Gerardo Sofovich, Fallos: 315:1492 (1992)
  • Arg., Constitution, art. 14
  • Arg., Const. Nac. Article 32

Other national standards, law or jurisprudence

  • U.S., Arkansas Writers’ Project, Inc. v. Ragland, 481 U.S. 221 (1987)
  • U.S., United States v. Virginia, 518 U.S. 515 (1996)
  • U.S., El Día, Inc. V. Rosello, 165 F.3d 106 (1999)
  • U.S., Perry v. Sindermann, 408 U.S. 593 (1972)
  • U.S., Bd. of Cnty. Comm'rs v. Umbehr, 518 U.S. 668 (1996)
  • U.S., Nestor Colon Medina & Sucesores, Inc. v. Custodio, 964 F.2d 32 (1992)
  • U.S., Anderson v. Creighton, 483 U.S. 635 (1987)
  • U.S., N. Miss. Commc'ns, Inc. v. Jones, 792 F.2d 1330 (1986)
  • U.S., Frissell v. Rizzo 597 F.2d 840 (1979)

Case Significance

Quick Info

Case significance refers to how influential the case is and how its significance changes over time.

This case did not set a binding or persuasive precedent either within or outside its jurisdiction. The significance of this case is undetermined at this point in time.

The decision was cited in:

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