Radio Bálsamo Censored
"SIGET ordered that transmissions from 90.5 FM be shut down due to legal
proceedings against the community radio station"
December 2, 2009
Radio Bálsamo has been off the air since this past Friday, November 27.
The Salvadoran Department of Electricity and Telecommunications (SIGET)
ordered that transmissions from 90.5 FM be shut down due to legal
proceedings against the community radio station located in the La Libertad
The complainant, Rubén González, who was awarded the right to use the 90.5
FM frequency in the Zaragoza zone, signed a contract with the legal
representatives of Radio Bálsamo in 2005, "authorizing them to transmit
for ten years over said frequency. However, this same person gave the
[right to use] the frequency to a local religious sect this year, and
discredited [Radio Bálsamo] before the SIGET," said Geovani Montalvo, a
journalist with the radio.
Since then, the radio has been accused of misuse of the frequency, because
according to the plaintiffs, Radio Bálsamo is not authorized to transmit
on said frequency.
The Radio Bálsamo collective has manifested its concern regarding this
situation and states that "to resolve the situation, those of us who are
obligated to participate are those who were signers of the legal
agreementthat is, Radio Bálsamo's legal representation and Ruben
Gonzalez, who has ceded the right to use the frequency to another group."
The Union of Journalists of El Salvador (SINPESS) expressed its concern
over the temporary closure of this alternative news outlet and points out
that this is the first case in the SIGET has brought against a news outlet
during the current administration. For this reason, it requests public
explanations from the authorities.
The Latin American Association of Radiophonic Education (ALER) has
expressed its concern regarding the news and laments "legal problems are
depriving the towns of the accompaniment that Radio Bálsamo offered them
with its regular transmissions." Likewise, it is confident that "the
pertinent authorities will promptly facilitate a solution to the problem
and that Radio Bálsamo will once again transmit its regular programming."
For its part, the Roque Dalton Collective of Communicators and Students
(CERD) believes that the issue of the closure of the radio "is more than
just a legal conflict. The closure is a right denied to a population that
demands information as a public asset, information that serves to
transform the people."
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