Mexican community radio broadcaster sentenced to two years for operating without license

  • By
  • November 8, 2010

By Ingrid Bachmann

Héctor Camero, a member of the Tierra y Libertad (Land and Liberty) community radio station, was notified last week of his two-year prison sentence and fine of US$1,200 for the crime of developing and using a radio frequency without authorization, the World Association of Community Broadcasters (AMARC) reports via IFEX. The sentence also suspends his civil and political rights.

Tierra y Libertad broadcasts to an audience of mostly factory workers in Monterrey, Nuevo León. It applied for a license in 2002 but did not receive it until 2009, AMARC says.

The case against Camero started in 2008 when a police operation involving 120 officers raided the station and dismantled its equipment. "Many organisations have called for this case to be dropped, saying that the criminal proceedings have been plagued with irregularities," AMARC says. "For example, Camero was initially called as a witness in the case, but then the Public Prosecutor's office, without presenting any new evidence, suddenly changed his status to that the accused."

The sentence comes less than a month after the Chiapas state government violently closed the Proletaria community radio station in Tuxtla Gutierrez. Reporters Without Borders called Camero's sentencing a setback to Mexico's community radio sector.

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.