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Repeal of emergency decree a sham, says C-Libre, as three media outlets remain off the air

(C-Libre/IFEX) - 9 October 2009 - Four days after the announcement that an executive decree that suspended constitutional rights and freedom of expression had been lifted, media outlets Radio Globo, Radio La Catracha and Canal 36 remain off the air and their equipment that was seized on 28 September remains in the hands of the de facto government.

The repeal of the decree has yet to be published in the official government publication, "La Gaceta". Roberto Micheletti's de facto government has told suspended media outlets that their legal representatives must appeal to the Supreme Court to have their operating rights reinstated.

In another threat to freedom of expression, the de facto government has approved a new decree allowing the National Telecommunications Commission (CONATEL) to "cancel or revoke licenses and permits of radio stations" to "guarantee national security".

Meanwhile, Radio Globo is operating via the internet, with their signal being rebroadcast on national and international radio stations, David Romero, Radio Globo's news director, said.

"We have brought several legal cases before Supreme Court, but right now we are defenceless because of the link between the powers of the state, which don't allow anything that has to do with Radio Globo. Even documents from the Human Rights Prosecutor's Office have been rejected", Romero said.

The owner of Canal 36 and Radio La Catracha, Esdras Amado López, said that right now his media outlets are not doing anything. "We haven't been part of any judicial proceedings because everything that's done is outside of the law. We hope that the right that was violently taken from us by the de facto government will be restored," López said.

López added that the new decree that allows for the definitive closure of media outlets "is a way of applying a gag order to the media in general and to Canal 36 in particular, because it has condemned the coup since its beginning."

Up to now there have been 15 appeals presented to the Supreme Court against the decree suspending constitutional guarantees, which shielded the de facto regime's closure of three media outlets, something that has never been seen before in the country's communications system.

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