Let’s Defend Free Radios Against the Legal and Repressive Force of the State

Like the water and land, they also want to turn the air into a commodity. Since 2006, with the reform to the law of telecommunications, we have cautioned of the increasing privatization of radio in Mexico, whose majority of AM and FM stations pertain to the 23 private radiophonic groups.

After the directors of the Federal Institute of Telecommunications (IFT) announced in 2016 that they would quickly license six frequencies in Mexico City, the dispossession of free radios began the following year. In August of 2017, this institute sold the frequency 105.3 FM to the businessman Eduardo Henkel where our fellow collective Regeneración Radio transmitted in the city. As such, for 2018 the possibility remains open that the IFT could sell the frequencies of free radios in Mexico City.

Combined with this, in October of 2017, a change was made to the Penal Code and the Federal Law of Telecommunications imposing punishment of 2-5 years in jail, economic sanctions of a fine of up to 300 days and the decommission of equipment to those who operate stations without having the concession authorized by the state. Different actors have questioned this project, including AMARC-Mexico, the representative in Mexico of the High Commissioner of Human Rights of the United Nations, the organization Article 19 and various centers of human rights defense.

Currently, the legislative project continues without approval, but the decommissions, interferences and illegal actions continue operating against free radios, as we previously denounced. The plan that the capitalists and their servants have in order to silence the voice of community and free radios is to deliver the frequencies to private businessman and repress those who exercise communication.

This includes the radios with social projects, struggling to obtain a community concession, who must fulfill the technical requirements imposed by the IFT that in their document IFT-002-2016 list a series of specifications and requirements that would require the investment of up to 700,000 pesos in equipment. In addition, they have imposed political content and obstructed the possibility of obtaining commercial financing. With this, the tendency of privatization of the media is reinforced so as to only be used by businessmen and speculators of the radio spectrum.

The blows to freedom of expression not only affect free communicators, but whatever critical person. An example of this is the gag law initiative. On December 14th, 2017, congressmen approved, in three minutes and without any debate, a reform to the Federal Civil Code. This law establishes the illegality of communication by whatever means that dishonors, discredits, damages or exposes someone to contempt, regardless of validity of the facts.

That is to say, if someone presents, for example, the acts of authoritarianism of a public servant through social networks and this causes them damage, then those who made the denouncement can be sent to jail. The same applies to those who disseminate an opinion, testimony, or complaint through free or commercial media.

If this occurs with the freedom of expression, the approval of the Law of Internal Security covers the entire regime of the country. On December 21st, 2017, this law was enacted giving legal backing to the criminal actions that the armed forces have carried out since the beginning of the so-called war on drugs in Mexico. This law subordinates the civilian government agencies to the centers of military control. For that reason, a “military coup” is being spoken of by means of the parliamentary route. Among other things, the military will be able to utilize force to control or repel what they call non-aggressive acts of resistance. The objective is no longer so-called organized crime, but social movements. With the law, the intention is to consolidate the action of the armed forces to impose social discipline. In a country where capitalists, governors and the political class offer overexploitation, dispossession and environmental devastation, it is foreseeable that insurgencies will also grow. Against this insurgency, the powerful will prepare the armed forces. The immediate future is of heightened repression.

Against this legal and repressive offensive on part of the IFT, the legislatures and the repressive force, today more than ever it is essential to occupy and defend the spaces of free expression. The free media are some of the few channels that permit coverage of the current tragedy in this country, as well as the struggles to defend life and construct a better world. We hope that you can help us share these denouncements and participate in the free media, and in particular in our radio, to strengthen our spaces of communication.

Ké Huelga Radio

Free, Social and Against Power

March 2018

Translation by abaction

Source: Voices in movement