Police raid silences Chiapas community radio station

Criminalisation of community radio stations

Published on 15 October 2010

The police and judicial authorities in the southeastern state of Chiapas must explain a 12 October raid on Radio Proletaria, a community radio station in the city of Tuxtla Gutiérrez, in which arrests were made and the station was summarily dismantled.

The raid was carried out at night by around 30 armed and masked members of the police and the Chiapas State Attorney-General’s Office (PGJE), who did not identify themselves or show any kind of warrant. Six people were arrested, including a 14-year-old boy who works for the station. He was held for 24 hours.

All of Radio Proletaria’s broadcasting equipment was seized, reducing it to silence. Located in the premises of the Emiliano Zapata Popular Organization, the station is affiliated to the World Association of Community Radio Broadcasters (AMARC).

AMARC and Reporters Without Borders call on the Chiapas authorities to publicly explain what took place during the raid and why it was carried out. Was Radio Proletaria broadcasting on an illegal frequency? And if so, why couldn’t the authority have ordered it to comply with the regulations, without resorting to repression and censorship?

The Chiapas State Attorney-General’s Office has violated the right to impart information and must return the stolen equipment to Radio Proletaria without delay.

The arrest of a minor, who was denied the right to contact his family, was also a flagrant violation of the most basic rules of criminal law. While held, the boy was ordered to identify the home of three other Radio Proletaria representatives. The officials responsible for this inadmissible procedure deserve more than administrative sanctions. And in the absence of legitimate charges, those still being held must be released.

The criminalisation of community radio stations in Mexico is nothing new. The methods used by the Chiapas authorities to intimidate this community and silence its radio station recall those used by the federal army and police against the indigenous radio station Uékakua in January 2009 in Michoacán.

In both of these cases, the American Convention on Human Rights was violated. The Organisation of American States should demand reparation by the Mexican authorities.

Reporters Without Borders

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