Arson suspected in fire that destroyed Argentine radio station's broadcasting equipment

fire almost completely destroyed the broadcasting equipment of the radio station FM Sapucay on Friday, Nov. 18, in the Argentine community of Santa Rita Misiones on the border with Brazil, according to the Argentine Journalism Forum (FOPEA in Spanish).

Vitalino Acosta, who founded the station in 2001, told FOPEA that he was convinced the fire was arson because the equipment was renovated in March in order to prevent short circuiting. For now, the stations has suspended broadcasting because it lacks the money needed to repair the damaged equipment.

The owner suspects that the fire is related to the station's criticism of Mayor Nelson Carvalho, who previously had told citizens not to listen to FM Sapucay because it was "from the devil," reported the station Ruta 101. In June 2011, Carvalho interrupted a broadcast and attacked the program's hosts because he was upset about criticisms made about him, and in March he threatened another radio journalist at the same station, according to FOPEA.

In support of the station, Ricardo Arrúa, director of the Press and Social Communication Workers Forum of Misiones (FoPreMi) met with the minister of government Jorge Franco, to ask him to investigate who set the fire. FoPreMi also announced it will hold a festival to raise funds to pay for the station to replace its damaged equipment, reported the television station Misiones Cuatro.