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Television station's broadcasting equipment seized by regulatory body; reporter of state-owned radio station beaten by students

(IPYS/IFEX) - On 22 August 2007, the Telecommunications Superintendent's Office (Superintendencia de Telecomunicaciones, SITTEL) seized the broadcasting equipment of Canal 20 television station. According to the regulatory body, the station's licence only permits it to operate in the locality of Vinto, but not in the city of Cochabamba (where its studios are based) or in Quillacollo (where its aerial is located).

Station director Marianela Montenegro stated, however, that the seizure is a reprisal for criticisms against the government aired during her programme "Aló Marianela". She explained that the station has a permit to function until the year 2023 and that she will initiate legal proceedings against SITTEL.

SITTEL clarified that the station may continue broadcasting in Vinto, where it is authorised to do so, adding that the seized equipment will not be returned as this is the sanction for the violation as stipulated by law.

In a separate incident, also on 22 August, a mob of students burst into the facilities of "Pacto de Unidad", a group of social organisations linked to the government that include the state-owned Red Patria Nueva radio station. They assaulted station correspondent Juan Quiroga and caused some damage to the premises.

The incident took place in the city of Sucre, amidst violent protests by university students who are demanding that the Constitutional Assembly address the issue of the transfer of the Executive and Legislative branches of government to that city.

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