Community TV, radio under attack in Chile
Reporters Without Borders (RSF in French) denounced destructive attacks on media outlets in Chile, forcing some to close, reported the Press and Society Institute (IPYS in Spanish) on Nov. 29.
On Oct. 21, robbers stole equipment and cut the cables supporting the transmission tower of community television station Agro TV, causing it to fall, reported RSF. The station, located in Cerro Monjas, Quillota, has been unable to broadcast since the attack.
A similar case took place with the radio station Tentación de Paine was forced off the air by police when they lost their license.
Kimche Mapu, a Mapuche community radio station in Lanco, Region XIV, was sued by a city councilman and the owner of another station. If the charges stick, the station would be forced to close, according to IPYS.
President María Pía Matta of the World Association of Community Radio Broadcasters said that community radio "exercises a community's right to its own distinct communication and have the right to access radio frequencies." In an article from RSF, Matta criticized the concentration of media ownership in Chile.
In addition to unfair competition, community media groups in Chile also suffer from inadequate legislation granting them fair access to the telecommunications playing field, according to the International Freedom of Expression Exchange.
RSF also highlighted attacks against other community media outlets in South America. In Argentina, the radio station Paj Sachama, committed to defending indigenous rights, suffered an armed attack in September; the private radio broadcaster FM Sapucay was nearly destroyed by arson. In Bolivia, Community Radio Yapacaní and the channel 8 television station were attacked by supporters of the local mayor after he was accused of corruption.
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