Trial begins against Chilean community radio station that operated without a license

Six months after Chilean community radio station Radio Tentación in November 2010 was closed and its equipment seized, the station's members find themselves on trial for broadcasting without authorization, reported the World Association of Community Radio Broadcasters, or AMARC.

The complaint against the station was filed by the Association of Broadcasters of Chile (ARCHI), the undersecretary of telecommunications (Subtel), and residents of the area. Marcelo Núñez, the station's director, attended a hearing on May 10, 2010, at which time the lawsuit was filed, reported IFEX.

Núñez appeared along with Miguel Silva, of Radio 24, a station that also was closed last November. Both were told to stop transmitting in order to avoid a trial. Silva agreed but Núñez opted to continue with the lawsuit, considering the suit to be a violation of freedom of expression, said the University of Chile Radio.

"I'm going to trial in defense of freedom of expression in Chile," Silva said, as quoted by Radio Tierra. “This is the moment for community radio to put on the pressure, in order to achieve legal frameworks that favor us," he added, according to Movimiento Generación 80.

The General Telecommunications Law establishes penalties, even prison, for broadcasting without a license.

A recent report from the Human Rights Commission of the Organization of American States (OAS) highlighted recent cases that attack freedom of expression in Chile, including the situation of the community radio stations.

Other Related Headlines:
» Periodistas en Español (Freedom of expression in Chile)

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.