In Argentina, the Day of the Journalist has been celebrated since it was established by the First Congress of Journalists of the country, meeting that took place in Córdoba province in May 1938. There the bases of the Professional Statute were laid (law 12-908 that would be sanctioned in 1944 by the National Congress). The date was chosen to remember that on June 7, 1810, the first issue of the Gazeta de Buenos Ayres was distributed, a newspaper founded -in the independence stage of what would later become Argentina- by Mariano Moreno.
Currently, conditions are far from ideal for the exercise of the profession. Layoffs and job insecurity, salaries that in many cases do not cover family needs and a freedom of expression that often ends up curtailed by business or political power are constant concerns. But the situation does not prevent us from seeing that the institutional stability and the unprecedented almost four decades of democracy in the country are, looking back, a substantial improvement for the development of the profession.
In the more than 200 years of practicing the profession in Argentina, journalists and press workers went through, along with the social and political ups and downs of the country, brief periods of democracy and relative freedom as well as others of dictatorship, repression, persecution, censorship, harassment, disappearances and deaths. Although in times of democracy there were attacks and even assassinations – such as the emblematic photographer José Luis Cabezas in 1997 – the military dictatorship that ravaged the country between 1976 and 1983 was the darkest period. In its macabre and illegal actions it did not make an exception with the press in general and with its workers in particular: in those years about 120 journalists were murdered and/or disappeared. Among them Rodolfo Walsh, attacked with bullets in 1977 when he distributed his famous Letter to the Military Junta in which he denounced the dictatorship and expressed in its final part: “these are the reflections that on the first anniversary of this unfortunate government I wanted to make, to reach out to the members of that Board with no hope of being heard, with the certainty of being persecuted, but faithful to the commitment that I assumed a long time ago to give testimony in difficult moments”.