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Radio stations closed, equipment seized

(IPYS-Venezuela/IFEX) - On 8 December 2011, the Venezuelan National Telecommunications Commission (CONATEL) seized equipment from three radio stations, Radio Mar 95.3 FM, Horizonte 100.5 FM and Platino Margarita 101.3 FM, in the eastern state of Nueva Esparta. According to a statement issued by CONATEL Director of Operations Enrique Quintana, the stations were alleged to have been "operating clandestinely" and did not have the required licenses and permits.

María Elena Fernández, an independent producer for Radio Mar 95.3 FM, said the station complied with the payment of fees requested by the CONATEL in order for its license to be processed and that it had been granted a temporary permit to operate.

Fernández also said the actions against the stations came as "a surprise" since the CONATEL had previously issued a decision authorising Radio Mar to operate via a signal that interfered with another station. She added that all of the stations that were shut down were faced with the same situation and some had been functioning for five years under temporary permits or based on statements made by CONATEL officials authorising them to operate.

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