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Seven radio stations face sanctions for airing free expression programme

(Fundamedios/IFEX) - 13 September 2011 - On 6 September 2011, the Telecommunications Superintendent (SUPERTEL), notified seven radio stations in the cities of Quito, Guayaquil and Cuenca that it would be taking legal action against them after they simultaneously broadcast some programmes on freedom of expression.

SUPERTEL informed the radio stations Quito, Centro, Genial Exa, Visión and Platinum, based in Quito; Radio City, of Guayaquil, and Ondas Azuayas of Cuenca, that they may have committed an infraction because they did not provide advance notice that they were going to be coordinating their broadcasts.

According to the law, the penalty could be a fine amounting to 50% of 10 minimum living wages for each station. The stations have eight days to respond to the charges against them.

The legal action stems from a radio programme broadcast on 10 August 2011 in celebration of Ecuador's independence day, in which well-known media figures discussed the topic of freedom of expression. The programme was broadcast by the stations listed above via Euadoradio's signal (Radio Quito and Platinum).

SUPERTEL is basing the legal action on a document that says that the radio stations did not provide notification of their intention to link their broadcasts on 10 August, as well as an article published by "El Comercio" newspaper on 11 August that gave details about the broadcast.

Fundamedios wants to draw attention to the fact that radio stations that join forces in the defence of freedom of expression now face the possibility of fines and sanctions, which might discourage these types of initiatives in the future.

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