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IACHR recommends that governments pass legislation on community radio stations, reserve part of the spectrum for their use

(AMARC/IFEX) - The following is an 11 April 2007 AMARC press release:

IACHR recommends that governments pass legislation on community radio stations, allocate part of the electromagnetic frequency spectrum for their use

In the annual report on human rights in the Americas for 2006 of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) of the Organisation of American States (OAS), the Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression recommended that all member states of the OAS legislate on community radio stations and allocate part of the electromagnetic frequency spectrum to community radio stations.

It also recommended that "in the assignment of these frequencies, that the democratic principle of equal access be taken into account, in agreement with Principle 12 of the Declaration of Principles on Freedom of Expression."

This recommendation relates to the concern of the IACHR that a factor effecting freedom of expression is the lack of appropriate legislation on community radio in various countries of the region.

The report reminds readers that the Special Rapporteur has indicated that community radio stations, when they operate within the law, tend to be media outlets where the poorest sectors have greater opportunities for access and participation.

The report concludes that, in practise, the lack of adequate legislation on this subject contributes to the continuing existence of radio stations that operate on the margins of the law, causing interference in the spectrum, judicial uncertainty and violent repressive actions, among other problems.

On 29 March 2007, the IACHR presented its annual report to the Commission for Legal and Political Affairs of the OAS; the third volume of the report consists of the report by the Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression.

The report includes general conclusions on freedom of expression in the region, on the basis of which it makes its recommendations to OAS member states.

The report is available at: http://www.cidh.org/relatoria/showarticle.asp?artID=691&lID=1

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