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Independent media under attack in Oaxaca

Call to international action in defence of the free and community radio stations of Oaxaca, currently under attack from the government.
The community airwaves, free to all.

"We must defend the voices of our people"

On Friday 29 August, one day before the Assembly of the Free and Community Radios of Oaxaca, the report came in of the first dismantling of the inaccurately-named 'pirate' radio stations (those without government permission), in Huajuapam de León, under the pretext that it had been transmitting clandestinely in the community. The primary content of the radios is the defence of the human rights of participants of the Oaxacan social movement. Today we are informed that the evictions continue in the region of the Isthmus (of Tehuantepec). These radios were of a merely commerical nature, but we believe that the true aim of the federal government is to dismantle those radios with direct links to community process and obligations and links to the social struggle.

In the Isthmus region there are many instances of free and community communication media that count on the support and endorsement of the local community and whise programming reflects and contributes to community processes.

The Assembly of the Free and Community Radios of Oaxaca denounces the methods used by the government to send its hostile messages to our compañeros engaged in communicatory work in their regions, states and communities. Their intimidatory tactics make it very clear that they take their cue from their tyrannical system and the laws that uphold it, and not from the decisions of the community assemblies of the barrios and citizen councils. Communication that does not profit the powerful, is an irritation to them. For this reason we fight together to defend our legitimate right to inform and be informed.

It is now of vital importance to make a profound analysis of these attacks that the government is directing and attemping against community information projects and the messages they send to those of us who do not beg permission to be listened to or comunicate with those who do not recognise the laws and who look to community participation. We stand for the fight for communication at the service of our communities and for the autonomy for each of these spaces.

We hereby call on the people of Oaxaca, Mexico and the World to be alert to every action of the bad government against free and community media and to respond in an organised manner, mobilising in the streets in defence of our means of communication.

"For communication from the people"

V.O.C.A.L. Autonomous radio communication



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Background


CONSTANT AGGRESSION AGAINST COMMUNITY RADIO STATIONS

In recent months a new wave of aggression on the part of the federal and state governments has begun throughout Mexico and is focused on community and social communication projects in the communities, suburbs and municipalities. Repression and intimidation has been visited on those who, engaged in alternative radio work and diffusion of information aim to inform the population of the reality of the political situation, of the environment and traditional organization and so revive that culture that moulds the identity of every place that neo-liberalism wishes to exterminate.

In the last two months there have been 4 registered cases of repression against alternative, community and social communications media. In Oaxaca, the blockade of Radio Planton re-started from the teacher's demand in June for sectional relief and the liberation of political prisoners, a blockade that is currently total on 92.1 and 103.1 FM.

In the same way, the community radio station in Zaachila on 94.1FM "the voice of the people that awakes and rises up" has been interfered with and slandered with false accusations of generating and fostering violence in the town. This comes as a result of informing the community of the true events of 20th June, when the criminal and despot Ulises Ruiz Ortiz visited Zaachila. The station revealed that the person using firearms against the population was Natalio Péres Tomás, the father of the current PRI Municipal President Noé Pérez Martínez. It also reported that it was this same President who began the confrontation by throwing rocks at the demonstrators and who had hired thugs to provoke a confrontation with those people unwilling to permit Ulises Ruiz to enter their community. To exact his revenge Noe Pérez, with the support of the state government and Office of Communication and Transport (SCT), is attempting to shut down Zaachila Radio through threats in state newspapers.

Examples of these attacks are those suffered by the compañeros of Radio Ñomndaa "The Water's Word", a community radio station broadcasting on 101.1FM in Xochistlahuaca, Guerrero, where the Federal Investigation Agency (AFI) caused the burning of its transmission equipment and in a similar way, Radio Tierra y Libertad of Monterrey that operated in a the suburbs, was closed and dismantled by elements of the Federal Preventive Police (PFP) and the SCT.

It is plain to see that these aggressions against the entire community communication project, in these cases the radio stations, form part of a deliberate campaign of persecution and hostility against those spaces that revive and regenerate culture, that denounce injustice and the violence of the state, that spread free determination to the pueblos, barrios and schools, and who do not stay silent. These are the motives of those attempting to close down our spaces of communication.

For this reason we are making a call to be watchful of any aggression against any process of free and community information and to offer our solidarity in whatever way we can. We therefore invite the different radios and communication initiatives of Oaxaca to a Preparatory Meeting on Saturday 2nd August in the auditorium of the Section 22 building (Armenta y López 221 col. centro) at 10:00 with a view to organising the First Assembly of the Free and Community Radios of Oaxaca.

For the construction of a different communication for the people.

Radio Plantón, Zaachila Radio, Radio Arcoiris, Comunicación V.O.C.A.L