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Government plan to revoke 300 TV and radio licenses gets underway in Ecuador

This statement was originally published on fundamedios.org on 16 December 2015.

On 8 December 2015, the Agency for the Regulation and Control of Telecommunications (ARCOTEL), notified Radio Democracia 920 AM of its decision to revoke its license to operate on its radio frequency. This case is part of a process, that involves more than 300 frequencies, initiated nationwide by ARCOTEL claiming the TV and radio stations had had their licenses renewed by a “non-competent authority”, according to the 2014 Organic Communication Law (LOC).

Álvaro Rosero, director of Democracia, shared the news publically via his Twitter account and called the process “absurd”. The notice arrived bearing the name of his father, Gonzalo Rosero, a journalist and host of the opinion and interview program Revista Informativa Democracia. In it, ARCOTEL “orders the beginning of the process of early and unilateral termination of the concession agreement between the former Ecuadorian Institute of Telecommunications (IETEL) and Mr. Luis Gonzalo Rosero Chávez on December 21, 1988 and renewed on October 1, 2004, before the Sixth Notary of the Canton of Quito, by the former Superintendency of Telecommunications (…) after obtaining the automatic renewal of the frequency from a non-competent authority”.

On Twitter, Rosero questioned the fact that the current authority (ARCOTEL) would disown the actions taken by the preceding authority in 2004 (Superintendency of Telecommunications), but is confident that if [email protected]_ec effectively acts according to the law, as it announces in social networks, the process should be closed”. On December 14, the director, along with Gonzalo Rosero, presented exculpatory evidence before the Agency, accompanied by a group of citizens, former officials and Assembly members who support the radio station.

Other stations that will lose their frequencies are: Radio Sucesos; JC Radio in Quito; HCJB in its different frequencies in Quito, Machala and Ambato; Tropicana; Stereo Zaracay de Santo Domingo de los Tsáchilas. Television stations such as Asomavision and Televisora del Sur, are also included. These frequencies were renewed ex officio or automatically by officials of the Superintendency of Telecommunications (exSupertel) between 9 May 1995 and 30 April 1997. However, according to the report of the Commission for the Audit of Radio and Television Frequencies, these renewals “are not valid” because of the illegality of an abuse of power by officials of exSupertel”, when the approval of renewals should have corresponded to the National Broadcasting and Television Council (exConartel).

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