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IPYS condemns ministry action against La Voz de Bagua radio station

(IPYS/IFEX) - On 19 September 2009, IPYS's Board of Directors issued the following press release commenting on the situation of the La Voz de Bagua radio station:

MTC persists in violating radio station La Voz de Bagua's freedom of expression

1. IPYS's Board of Directors condemns a new arbitrary action by the Ministry of Transport and Communications (MTC) against radio station La Voz de Bagua, the license of which was cancelled in July by an illegal administrative action. This was reported by IPYS to the OAS Office for the Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression.

2. On 15 September, the MTC rejected La Voz de Bagua's request for official approval presented in February 2009, arguing that it has no authorization. However, that same authorization was denied by the ministry itself in June 2009, stating that the station lacked official approval, the process of which had been left unattended by the ministry for the previous four months.

3. Regarding the precedents of this case we would like to point out that:

- The MTC has not proven, even minimally, the legality of the reasons it presented on 8 June 2009 to cancel radio station La Voz de Bagua's authorization, making it evident that it lacks consistent legal arguments on which to base its decision.

- The MTC did not address the appeal presented by radio station La Voz de Bagua's defense against the cancellation of its authorization in the legal established time. To date, it has not addressed the appeal presented on 25 August 2009, after it failed to address the first one.

- In spite of this, since July to date, radio station La Voz de Bagua has received four notifications from the MTC: two requests to pay fines for incidents that took place between the years 2005 and 2007, the initiation of administrative proceedings for incidents rectified by the station in March 2009, and the refusal of its previously mentioned official approval request.

4. The mistakes and arbitrary actions against radio station La Voz de Bagua by the MTC confirm that they originate in the false public accusation against this media outlet by several government representatives, of having broadcast contents that instigated the public to commit the violent actions that took place in the city of Bagua on 5 June 2009.

5. Not only has this assertion been denied by representatives of radio station La Voz de Bagua, to date no government representative has shown any evidence of its veracity. In any case, it is not legally possible to cancel a media outlet's license because of a discrepancy with the contents it broadcasts.

6. IPYS believes that the recent actions against radio station La Voz de Bagua constitute an evident case of an attempt against freedom of expression, that can be described as an abuse of official controls and which is forbidden by the Constitution and the American Convention on Human Rights. Because of this, IPYS condemns the cancellation of radio station La Voz de Bagua's authorization, urges the MTC to reinstate it as soon as possible, and will accompany the station in all the necessary claims and denunciations for the restitution of its right.

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