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CONATEL shuts down radio station, seizes its equipment

(IPYS-Venezuela/IFEX) - 30 March 2011 - On 25 March 2011, the National Telecommunications Commission (CONATEL) initiated administrative proceedings against the Musicable 93.7 FM radio station, based in Higuerote, for allegedly operating clandestinely. The incident occurred in the state of Miranda, northern Venezuela.

CONATEL officials arrived at Musicable's facilities to implement the order for the immediate suspension of the station's activities and the confiscation of its equipment.

Station director Pedro Tarak explained that in 2008 he had requested permission from CONATEL to operate legally. However, after 45 days had passed, the time frame within which a response should have been received in accordance with the Telecommunications Organic Law, Tarak took CONATEL's silence as a sign of approval and started operating the station.

The radio station's director pointed out that they have not been operating clandestinely insofar as they have paid all the taxes applicable for their use of the broadcasting frequency. Furthermore, he added, CONATEL officials have visited the station's facilities on several occasions to inspect them and verify that everything was in order.

CONATEL granted the radio station five days to present its defense and another five to oppose the precautionary measures that had been set into place. This decision implies that fifteen individuals are now without a job.

This is the second radio station that has been sanctioned with precautionary measures. The first one was Carabobo Stereo 102.3 FM, which was shut down on 18 March.

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