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Investigation reveals irregularities in the granting of broadcasting frequencies

(AMARC/IFEX) - On 22 December 2008, the Coordinator for Popular and Educational Radio in Ecuador (Coordinadora de Radios Populares y Educativas del Ecuador, CORAPE) presented its investigation entitled "From media concentration to the democratisation of the broadcasting spectrum", which reveals numerous irregularities in the way that radio and television licences were granted to nine business groups between 2003 and 2008. The report can be found at (spanish only): http://legislaciones.item.org.uy/index?q=node/871 .

According to Gissela Dávila, the executive director of CORAPE, these nine groups were granted 134 frequencies, which constitutes approximately 11% of all frequencies in Ecuador. Among the broadcasters in question is the current president of the National Radio and Television Council (Consejo Nacional de Radiodifusión y Televisión, CONARTEL), Jorge Yunda; the current president of the Ecuadorian Broadcasting Association (Asociación Ecuatoriana de Radiodifusión, AER), Bernardo Nussbaum; as well as broadcasting businessmen, Lenin Andrade, the former president of the AER, and Luis Gamboa Tello, the former vice-president of the AER. Nussbaum was a part of CONARTEL, the same organism that controls and grants radio and TV frequencies.

The report also mentions Mario Canessa Oneto, a former government minister; Luis Almeida Morán, a former member of parliament; César Farah, the current manager of Radio Nacional del Ecuador and Jorge Montero, a former legislative member.

The report seriously questions the fact that Jorge Yunda, the owner of several radio broadcasting licences, is also the president of CONARTEL. According to the report, this is a violation of Article 232 of the constitution which prohibits media owners from being part of the body that regulates the media.

CORAPE, a network that brings together 33 community radio stations from across the country, asks that these situations be investigated, "ensuring that due process is followed for those implicated" and that licences be revoked where irregularities are demonstrated. "Once suspicions of irregularities are confirmed, all frequencies that have been found to be definitely granted under unusual circumstances must be immediately revoked", the report concluded.

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