Télam is the Argentine national news agency founded in 1945. It provides news and information to about 300 subscribers, including government entities and national and international media. It is formed as government-owned company.


Télam was born as Telenoticiosa Americana (American Telenews) on April 14 1945 by the then-vicepresident Juan Domingo Perón, with the purpose to combat the information hegemony of US agencies such as "United Press International" and "Associated Press". At its inception it started as a mixed-ownership company, in a joint venture between government and private capital. Its first director was Gerónimo Jutronich, whom was tasked to form a team of journalists, some of which came from ANDI, another state agency created in 1944.

The new agency started disseminating information on October 12 1945, but not until 1948 was able to form a national-coverage network, after signing the first contracts with journalists from the country's interior, who started to send information to headquarters in Buenos Aires by telegram or telephone. The normal growth process of the company was interrupted by the military coup in 1955. Télam's economical situation was not strong enough to stand on its own yet. The new authorities did not at first provided funding and wages were in arrears for a few months.

The company started to stabilize on July 30 1959, when Bernabé Villegas, Adolfo Garino and Blas Calaro among others, reorganized the company as "Télam Sociedad Anónima, Periodística, Radiofónica, Cinematográfica, Comercial, Inmobiliaria y Financiera" changing the legal constitution from a Limited liability company to an incorporated company (S.A.) . A presidential decree authorized the new private company to work under the new legal framework. During the 1960s Télam increased its clientele, including the four TV networks in Buenos Aires and major city newspapers such as Clarín. News started to be transmitted by telex which allowed them to reach more cities around the country in less time.

The government of José María Guido closed the agency on May 30 1963 alleging they "are transmitting false information that by its nature and reach they subvert the public order and the calm of the population, when the government is firm in its purpose of eliminating any factor capable of disrupting the electoral process applying the powers it has during a state of unrest" (this came just after the military coup that deposed president Arturo Frondizi.

Télam became a fully government owned company under the "de facto" government of Juan Carlos Onganía, on June 24 1968, after the state bought its outstanding shares through the then "Secretaría de Difusión y Turismo" (Ministry of Tourism and Information). At the same time, a new legal framework decreed that all advertisement by state entities and companies be handled through the agency. This decision allowed the company to generate a considerable amount of new internal resources.

The agency did not come out unscathed from the "National Reorganization Process"; besides the censorship to which it was subjected under the dictatorship, during the democratically elected government of Raúl Alfonsín it was learned of the "disappearance" of an important part of the journalistic and photographic archives of the company. In 1984 the private news agencies "Noticias Argentinas" and "Diarios y Noticias" publicly asked for the closing of Télam. In 1992 then president Carlos Menem ordered the intervention of the company and two years later its liquidation, but he rescinded the order in 1996 and replaced it with a new decree signed by Menem and his Economy Minister Domingo Cavallo which left Télam without one of its main sources of income by dismantling the official government advertisement monopoly.

Télam cntinued noetheless to function as an advertising agency —it was Menem's government intention to remove that function completely. In 2000 the government of Fernando de la Rúa again announced the closing of the advertisement area and the sale of the agency's headquarters, but this never happened. In the following year all the state's news media outlets were joined together, and the agency moved to work along with LS82 TV Canal 7 and LRA Radio Nacional within the "Servicio Nacional de Medios Públicos" (National Service of Public Media). In 2002 it regained its independence.

At the present time the company is a government-owned entity under the control of the "Secretaría de Medios de Comunicación" (Communications Ministry), in charge of naming its board of directors. Its budget is part of the global State Budget, although the agency also generates its own income through it advertising business. Up to 2005 there were about 450 personnel at Télam, with about half assigned to the news department.

See also

* LRA Radio Nacional
* Canal 7 Argentina

External links

* [http://www.telam.com.ar Télam - Official site]
* [http://www1.hcdn.gov.ar/dependencias/cceinformatica/proyectos/2487_02_telam.html Creation of Télam as a government entity]
* [http://web.archive.org/web/20050204115008/http://www.telam.com.ar/contenidos_historia.htm Télam's history]


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