Government officials closed down a radio station and confiscated the equipment on Wednesday, Sep. 18, in the city of Guayaquil (southeast of the nation), informed news agency AFP. According to the Supervisor of Telecommunications, Supertel, the closure was due to the station operating illegally, reported AFP.
Carlos Izurieta, an employee of Supertel, told Ecuavisa that the station "has not complied with the concession agreement that the State had granted it for quite some time," informed newspaper La Hora. According to the daily, Izurieta said that some key equipment was seized from the operation in order to prevent "underground" activity by the radio station.
According to several journalists that were interviewed by the Ecuadorian non-governmental organization Fundamedios, the station maintained an editorial line that was critical of the government, without being completely in opposition, informed the organization on its website. There was also talk of possible economic problems that the radio station had. Representatives of the station abstained from giving declarations to Fundamedios and other media.
The Radio Center of Guayaquil left the air after 34 years of operation and at a time in which the Constitutional Court of the nation is examining a petition filed by journalists and critics looking for the suspension of the country's controversial communications law, which they claim is unconstitutional.
The law, passed in June by Congress by government majority, implements rules that that reduce private participation in the media by means of a redistribution of frequencies, reported AFP.
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.