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Argentine lawmakers to seek changes in media law-report

BUENOS AIRES, Oct 12 (Reuters) - Argentina’s opposition lawmakers and media groups said they will try to get the next Congress to rescind or revise President Cristina Fernandez’s broadcast reform bill that passed over the weekend, Clarin newspaper reported on Monday.

The opposition lawmakers plan a December challenge to the bill that Fernandez says will open the country’s airwaves to new players but critics say will increase state influence over the media. New lawmakers will be seated in December after Fernandez’s ruling party lost its congressional majority in June legislative elections.

“In December, we’ll see if the idea is to rescind the law completely or just change it,” Oscar Aguad, an opposition lawmaker with the UCR party told Clarin. “My opinion is that the law should be rescinded.”

The media overhaul has pitted the president against Argentina’s leading media groups, including Grupo Clarin, one of Latin America’s biggest media conglomerates and owner of the country’s biggest newspaper and most-watched cable news channel.

Fernandez, a leftist who has expanded the state’s role in the economy, has said the bill is an attempt to make radio and TV broadcasts more democratic by capping the number of licenses controlled by media giants.

It sets limits on the number of media outlets companies can own, forcing some to sell off their holdings within a year, which would occur in the run-up to a 2011 presidential election.

Argentina’s largest media groups Clarin and Uno said on Sunday they would go to court to challenge the provision that was approved by the Senate on Saturday.

“We are going to (Court) to prevent the implementation of the new law, which has several unconstitutional points in it,” Daniel Vila, president of Grupo Uno told local radio stations, according to Clarin.

Reporting by Vivianne Rodrigues; Editing by Vicki Allen

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