Freedom of Expression

Press Release R41-09


Nº R41/09





Washington, D.C., June 26, 2009 – The Office of the Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights expresses its concern over the Peruvian State’s decision to revoke the broadcast authorization of radio La Voz of Bagua Grande, province of Utcubama, which was taken on June 8, 2009.


On information timely sent to the Office of the Special Rapporteur, the State of Peru explained the administrative procedure followed. It explained that the decision was taken because the radio failed to comply with certain technical requirements established by law. This failure to meet the requirements was verified by the authorities on December 31, 2008, and would lead to revoke the permission.


On the other hand, members of the radio presented an administrative appeal to reconsider the decision, arguing that there was a procedure underway, allegedly accepted by the State, in order to prove that the radio had fulfilled the legal requirements.


The resolution that revokes the broadcasting permission was taken after the acts of violence that took place in the area on June 5, 2009. According to the information received, some authorities would have said that Bagua’s radios instigated these acts. However, the mentioned resolution refers exclusively to the failure of the radio to meet technical requirements, and it is not related to those acts of violence. According to received information, the resolution that revokes La Voz’s permission may have had a chilling effect on the radios of the area.


The Office of the Special Rapporteur thanks the State for its timely response to the required information, and recognizes the State’s right to do technical inspections and serious and effective investigations to assure the compliance of legal dispositions. As the Office of the Special Rapporteur has said in different reports, these procedures must be defined in a precise and clear manner by the law according to the international standards on freedom of expression. The procedures should also be performed by an autonomous and impartial organism and they should guarantee the right to defense. Principle 13 from the Declaration of Principles on Freedom of Expression states that the means of communication have the right to carry out their role in an independent manner. Direct or indirect pressures exerted upon journalists or other social communicators to stifle the dissemination of information are incompatible with freedom of expression.


Considering what was mentioned before and the administrative appeal introduced by members of La Voz radio, the Office of the Special Rapporteur calls the Peruvian State to evaluate this appeal taking into consideration the highest international standards on freedom of expression, established in article 13 of the Human Rights American Convention, when the mentioned administrative appeal will be evaluated. The Office of the Special Rapporteur also offers its collaboration to the State to work on implementation of these standards in the national legislation.


For additional information about the Office of the Special Rapporteur or the advances cited herein: