Uruguay to fine 36 broadcasters that refused to air anti-amnesty message

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  • February 10, 2010

By Ingrid Bachmann

The government of President Tabaré Vázquez decided to fine radio and TV stations that refused to broadcast a statement last October in favor of overturning Uruguay's amnesty law, only three days before a national vote on the issue, El Espectador and Página 12 report.

On Oct. 19, Uruguay's Supreme Court ruled unconstitutional a law that granted amnesty to military officials accused of killings, kidnappings and other crimes during the military rule (1973-1985). But Uruguayans voted to keep the law in force on Oct. 25.

President Vázquez had ordered Uruguayan media to broadcast an announcement Oct. 22 in favor of annulling the amnesty law, and he has decided to fine those stations who did not comply, the DPA news agency reports (in Spanish). He will remain in office only until March 1, when former Sen. Jose Mujica takes office.

By law, 363 media were required to broadcast the announcement, and the government will hear the justifications stations provide for not broadcasting the announcement before calculating the amounts of the fines, El País reports.

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.