Ashley Greco-Stoner from Freedom House says in a blog post that Latin American countries are slowly changing their legislations in a way that in the long term can threaten the internet freedom in their countries. In Brazil intermediaries can now easier be held responsible and subjected to criminal charges with help of the country’s new electoral law, “which prohibits coverage of candidates for three months prior to elections and bans any online content that might ‘offend the dignity or decorum’”, Greco-Stoner reports. As an effect of the new legislation, two Google executives are now being charged for failure to remove content posted by users on sites owned by Google.

In Argentina similar legislations are being adopted to hold mediates such a search engines responsible for their contents and in Ecuador, the newly passed Organic Law of Communication holds all intermediaries with ultimate responsibility for all hosted content – including reader comments – that opposes and criticizes President Rafael Correa and his administration.

According to Greco-Stoner, these tendencies poses the threat of expanding governmental control of editorial content to the point that dissent is eliminated and critical voices are stifled.

Read more at Freedom House.

The political situation in Argentina has been turbulent in the last year. In the legislative elections of June 2009, the opposition won majority in the House of Representatives and has over the last year been characterized by president Cristina Kirchner’s attempt to remain in power. When visiting Sweden in March, Carolina Poli Palazzo, Advisor to an Argentinian local politician described an Argentina which has been subject to political misgovernment but which is finally on its way back – if the opposition manages to build a stable coalition.

The presidential form of government in Argentina not only results in a different role and impact of the legislative branch but also in few coalitions formed between parties compared to the Swedish form of government. As legislative elections are mid term elections, when majorities are changed in both chambers it doesn’t change the government whatsoever.

The two-party structure that has been predominant in the last sixty years came to an end in the 2001 political and economic crisis. Today, the system is largely based on four main parties (which have subdivisions and, in some cases, fragile alliances). This system has a direct impact on the National Congress and is likely to have an impact on the 2011 presidential elections. (more…)