Seven months and counting of acephaly for the Public Defender’s Office

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The Office of the Public Defender, the agency responsible for receiving complaints from active hearings in cases of rights violations, has previously received international awards. Among them, is the one granted by the Office of the Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression of the OAS. On this occasion, he was awarded the “Inter-American Award for Innovation for Effective Public Management”. This award

“…is an initiative of the Department for Effective Public Management of the OAS, whose main objective is to recognize, encourage, systematize and promote the innovations in public management that are being carried out in the region with the purpose of contributing to institutions Increasingly transparent, effective and have mechanisms for citizen participation.”

The institution was one of the main actors in public policy mapping to protect women against symbolic and media violence, in addition to protecting the general public. Through complaints, or acting on their own initiative, they issued opinions against content that exercised media violence and carried out activities, such as meetings and training, or instances of mediation, with the producers of said contents in order to raise awareness and give guidelines for producing content Not sexist.

However, this efficient and participative management of the organization has been interrupted since November last year when the Bicameral Commission, which should appoint the maximum authority of the Ombudsman’s Office, decided not to appoint anyone at the end of the mandate of Ms. Cyntia Ottaviano . As we mentioned in previous notes, the agency is still in an irregular situation and unable to carry out activities that go beyond mere formal and administrative communications. This limits that measures are taken in cases of media violence for reasons of gender or any other, and it does not allow the Ombudsman to make pronouncements on the quality of the contents denounced.

There is still no certainty about what will happen to the Ombudsman. In this context, it is important to remember that CEDAW, in its concluding observations to Argentina, recommended:

“To amend Act No. 26.522 (2009) on audiovisual media services, in order to provide the Public Defender with the power to sanction violations of provisions to regulate gender stereotypes and sexism in the media.”

In this sense, the institutional situation is detrimental to what is recommended according to international standards.

More information

The OAS will distinguish the Ombudsman’s task for the promotion of gender equity | Defensoría del Público

– Worrying situation of the Public Defender’s Office | FUNDEPS


Carolina Tamagnini – carotamagnini@fundeps.org