Community radio stations across Latin America are increasingly faced with problems of censorship and physical violence. Reporters Without Borders has issued an alert, drawing attention to the increasing attacks on these stations during October and November. The problem is especially alarming in three countries: Argentina, Bolivia and Chile.
The causes, and those responsible for the attacks, vary from country to country. In Argentina, the interests of land owners contrast sharply with those of the community radio stations that defend the rights of small farmers. In Bolivia the attacks stem from national institutions and political powers. In Chile, attacks tend to come from other media that do not respect the work of these small stations.
However, the common problem in all these countries is the inadequacy and inefficiency of media regulation. This lack of adequate legislation is at odds with the many community radio stations that exist in the region.
Latin America has so many community radio stations because they give a voice to minorities and social sectors that have been “forgotten” for decades and left out of the public debate, despite representing the views of a large proportion of the population. In virtually no Latin American country is the right to freedom of expression guaranteed, so they are defenseless against attacks.
The purpose of the alert that Reporters Without Borders has launched is to offer solutions and ways for these stations to resume their work. They are non-profit radio stations, owned by communities or social movements, campesinos and indigenous people, among others, that defend freedom of expression, protection of the environment and the interests of the most disadvantaged sectors of society.
(Source: RNW Latin American Department)