Ecuadorean Gov’t Orders Closing of Public Radio Station

Ecuador’s Telecommunication Control and Regulation Agency initiated a sanctioning administrative case against public radio Pichincha Universal ordering the station to shut down and suspend its activities immediately.

“What this means is censorship. They seized the radio signal and force us to use the programming from the government’s public radio, without the possibility of transmitting our own programming. They restrict the right to free speech, they restrict the right to information,” Prefect of Pichincha Paola Pabon of former President Rafael Correa’s political party, tweeted.

The process began after the Secretariat of Communication of the Presidency delivered a notification on Wednesday morning to impede regular transmission and to order that the signal be replaced by the central government’s Public Radio FM.

This comes a day after police confiscated the radio’s transmitting equipment with a warrant, as the state’s prosecutors claim the radio broke the law by “inciting unrest,” thus violating art. 348 of the Criminal Code.

The popular radio station also informed they have received information that Ecuador’s government has issued a detention warrant against their director Washington Yepez. The station has played a leading role in covering the ongoing protests against IMF austerity, which were imposed by President Lenin Moreno.

Since Monday night, the FM radio denounced its frequency presented multiple disruptions in different parts of the city. Reports from listeners ensured that the tuning of the 95.3FM signal registered interference.