Community radio stations in Oaxaca denounce repression for reporting on local wind power project

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) has accused transnational buissneses and the local government of attacking and harrassing community radio stations in Oaxaca, Mexico that are opposed to the building of a wind power station in the Isthmus of Tehuantepec.

On April 4, police officers arrested and attacked journalist Carlos Sánchez Martínez, with Radio Totopo. Sánchez is still being detained, according to the radio station.

Sánchez was also wounded on March 26 while covering a confrontation between state police and indigenous activitsts, who had formed a barricade to stop the construction of the Fuerza y Energía Bi Hioxho wind power station, owned by the Spanish company Gas Natural Fenosa, reported the newspaper La Jornada. In a press release, Radio Totopo said that unknown attackers cut the station's electricity and stole the building's meter. Sánchez said he had received death threats as a result of his work.

The People's Assembly of the Juchiteco People and the National Congress of Indigenous Communication showed their support for Radio Totopo and said that some witnesses reported that agents of the Mexican Navy broke into the radio station's buildings to steal radio equipment without showing a warrant, according to news agency Pulsar.

According to RSF, the authorities have also harrassed other media companies that report on the opposition of indigenous communities to the wind power project. The Zapotec community is opposed because the project covers farmland, according to Pulsar.

On March 20, Radio Xadani reporter Filiberto Vincente Aquino received death threats after attending a conference about the opposition to the power station. A day later, the San Mateo del Mar municipal police detained six journalists, among them a reporter from La Jornada.

Note from the editor: This story was originally published by the Knight Center’s blog Journalism in the Americas, the predecessor of LatAm Journalism Review.

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