NGOs accuse Mexican state officials of violently closing community radio station

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  • October 18, 2010

By Ingrid Bachmann

Several press freedom organizations have accused the Chiapas state government of violating human rights and freedom of expression in their violent shutdown of the Proletaria community radio station on Oct. 12. The station is run mainly by neighborhood youths in the city of Tuxtla Gutierrez, Mexico's Center for Social Communication (CENCOS) Reports (via IFEX).

Between 25 and 30 heavily armed masked agents, including members of the state police and the Chiapas attorney general's office, used excessive force when raiding the offices of the Popular Organization Emiliano Zapata (OPEZ), which houses the four-year-old radio station. They confiscated the station's broadcasting equipment and detained six people, including a 14-year-old radio participant who was not allowed to contact his parents until the following day, CENCOS says.

The World Association of Community Radios (AMARC) and Reporters Without Borders have called on Chiapas authorities to explain publicly why the raid took place. They note that if the station was operating legally, authorities could have ordered it to comply without resorting to repression and censorship.

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.