Gov’t backtracks, restores license for Radio La Voz

Peru’s Transportation and Communications Ministry has restored the broadcasting license for Radio La Voz de Bagua following meetings with national press freedom groups, newspaper La Republica reported.

The decision to restore the license was made following meetings with Press and Society Institute (IPYS), Peruvian Press Council, the National Association of Peruvian Journalists and national ombudsdman – the Defensoria del Pueblo.

“My first impressions are of infinite thanks to all of the groups and everyone who helped achieve this win,” the director of Radio La Voz, Carlos Flores, told Ideeleradio.

“Ministerial Resolution Nº 384-19-08-2010 includes the signature of the [transportation and communications] minister Enrique Cornejo and Prime Minister Javier Velasquez, which shows a recognition that there was an attack on freedom of expression.”

The ministry of transportation and communications revoked Radio La Voz de Bagua’s broadcast license on June 8, 2009, three days after anti-government protests erupted on a remote jungle highway in the Bagua province of Amazonas department.

Leading members of President Alan García’s APRA party accused the station of inciting violence during the unrest. The official revocation order, however, made no reference to any alleged support of or incitement to violence, and justified the action on the grounds that the station had failed to meet the legal requirements set forth in its initial broadcasting permit from March 2007.

The deadly confrontation between protesters and Peruvian soldiers and police was the worst crisis since García took office in 2006.

Earlier this week, Deputy Minister Luis Cubas told Flores that the government would not rescind the resolution and the radio director he could reapply for a new license.

Press freedom advocates argued that this was unacceptable, because it did not recognize that the station was closed for political reasons.

Prime Minister Javier Velasquez said the station could start broadcasting immediately.

“Freedom of expression is fundamental for the government. The radio can start functioning immediately,” Radioprogramas reported Velasquez as saying.

Radio La Voz was awarded a Freedom of Expression Award from Index on Censorship, a UK-based organization which said the award “recognizes journalism of dogged determination and bravery.”

Sharing is caring!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *