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Authorities say XEJS radio was raided "by accident"

(CEPET/IFEX) - The Federal Telecommunications Commission (La Comisión Federal de Telecomunicaciones, COFETEL) has offered an apology to Otho Valles Baca, the owner of XEJS Cadena Radiodifusora de Chihuahua, a radio station from Parral, Chihuahua, northern Mexico, for the illegal closure of the station on 15 July 2009.

On 15 July, COFETEL inspectors and 70 heavily-armed federal agents raided the XEJS facilities. Without identifying themselves or providing a search warrant, the police dismantled and seized the station's broadcasting equipment.

The inspectors argued that Canal 3 TV - from which Valles Baca and his team rent airtime for certain programmes - had failed to follow all the necessary administrative procedures. XEJS lawyers explained that the station has no relation to Canal 3, aside from the airspace they rent, but the COFETEL personnel ignored their explanations.

On 20 July, Valles Baca filed a complaint with the Federal Public Ministry against the COFETEL authorities who had ordered the illegal closure of the radio station, and reported the excessive use of force that the police had exerted against XEJS personnel.

On 23 July, Francisco García Burgos, the director of the COFETEL Radio and Television Unit, asked Valles Baca to meet with him. During the meeting, García Burgos explained that the illegal closure of XEJS was the result of some confusion on the part of the inspectors. He apologised and asked Valles Baca to withdraw the complaint he had filed and work out a different solution to the issue.

The COFETEL officials and Valles Baca agreed that they would meet after 2 August - the end of the summer holidays - to return the equipment that was seized and investigate ways to repair the damage caused to XEJS Cadena Radiodifusora de Chihuahua.

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