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Provincial Attorney General's Office dismisses case against La Voz de Bagua radio station

(OLA/IFEX) - On 16 February 2010, Olga Bobadilla Terán, the head of the Utcubamba Provincial Attorney General's First Office, in the department of Amazonas, dismissed a case against the La Voz de Bagua radio. The radio station had been facing accusations of "incitement to violence," relating to incidents that took place on 5 June 2009.

Oswaldo Arroyo, a public prosecutor with the Justice Ministry, had requested that charges be laid against Aurora Burgos de Flores, the owner of the radio station, Carlos Flores Borja, the station's administrative director, and journalists José Flores Burgos, Leiter Flores Burgos and Alberto Pintado Villaverde, on allegations of disturbing the public peace via sedition and justification of criminal acts.

After reviewing the results of a preliminary investigation conducted by the police and statements given by witnesses and radio station personnel, as well the reading of transcribed audio recordings, Bobadilla Terán found that the station personnel were not responsible for the crimes they had been accused of committing and the case was dismissed.

Borja said the ruling reaffirmed freedom of expression rights in Peru, demonstrating that the actions against the station initiated by government personnel were abusive and arbitrary in nature. He called on the government to now take the necessary steps to allow for the reopening of the station.

On 8 June, the Transport and Communications Ministry cancelled La Voz de Bagua's broadcasting licence and blocked access to the station's bank accounts for collection of fines. On 5 June, the station's journalists had reported on a violent confrontation between police and indigenous residents in the area known as the Curva del Diablo (Devil's Curve). La Voz de Bagua took a position that was critical of the government, which resulted in a series of retaliatory actions against the station.

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