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Umbrales TV harassed by Telecommunications Secretariat and police

(AMARC/IFEX) - According to a 28 May 2009 release from Umbrales TV, Government Telecommunications Secretariat (Subsecretaría de Telecomunicaciones, SUBTEL) officials and police officers arrived at the station's offices "with evident intentions of entering the premises, with unknown consequences". The offices were closed, so government officials and police were not able to enter the premises.

This incident took place after Umbrales TV employees had noticed the presence of numerous unusual police patrols, plainclothes officers taking photos near the offices and unidentified people holding two-way radios.

There have recently been attacks on other community-based media outlets such as the persecution experienced by Radio La Voz employees at the end of 2008 and the recent seizure of equipment from a new community television station in Rancagua. Umbrales TV says that together these incidents show "the irrational and radical persecution of community media in Chile".

Employees of the station call on their community to defend local media outlets - radio stations, newspapers and TV stations - because they say they are the only tool for upholding the truth in the face of the communication oligopoly that characterises most of the media sector.

A few weeks after the creation of the Red de Medios de los Pueblos (RMP) - a network of community-based media outlets, created at a recent gathering in Valparaíso - Umbrales TV is calling for the protection of this achievement and the rights to freedom of expression and information, as well the nationalisation and democratisation of the broadcast spectrum.

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