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Authorities close the Uékakua community radio station, second community radio station closed in less than a week in Michoacán; AMARC condemns excessive use of force

(AMARC/IFEX) - On 29 January 2009, at approximately 1:30 p.m. (local time), 100 police officers and personnel from the Federal Investigations Agency (Agencia Federal de Investigaciones, AFI) and the Communications and Transport Secretariat (Secretaría de Comunicaciones y Transportes, SCT) arrived in the indigenous community of Ocumicho, in the municipality of Charapan, Michoacán state, in order to close the Uékakua community radio station.

According to AMARC representatives in Mexico, the authorities used excessive force and violence to achieve their goal, threatening two young women in order to stop the station from continuing its broadcast, in which they were informing the community about what was taking place. According to members of the community radio station, the officers covered the mouth of one of the young women to stop her from warning the station's listeners about the closure. The station's members went on to say that the authorities did not provide documentation to justify their closure of the station.

The radio station broadcasts its programmes in the Purépecha language, with only five watts of power, on the 104.5 FM frequency. It serves a community that has one of the highest levels of poverty in the state and has, since 2003, been attempting to obtain an operating licence. The SCT's Michoacán branch, however, has never given the station a concrete response to its requests.

In a separate incident, on 24 January, at approximately 4:00 p.m., AFI and SCT personnel also shut down the Eiampiti community radio station, in the Purépecha indigenous community of Nuevo San Juan Parangaricutiro, Michoacán.

The AMARC Mexico representatives condemned the excessive use of force by the authorities against the two indigenous community radio stations which are simply exercising their right to communicate and noted that when the communities in which the stations are located submit their requests for licencing the authorities respond with long bureaucratic processes or silence.

For further information on the closure of the Eiampiti community radio station, see: http://www.ifex.org/en/content/view/full/100659

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