2000 community radio stations face closure in Brazil

Wednesday, February 2, 2000

Jose Marcos Lunadelli
Federal Judge
E-mail: jm-lunardelli@uol.com.br

February 2, 2000

Mr. Honourable Justice Jose Marcos Lunadelli,

Canadian Journalists for Free Expression (CJFE) is concerned over the planned closure of 2000 community radio stations in Sao Paolo, Brazil. CJFE is an independent organization which promotes freedom of expression worldwide according to the precepts of Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. CJFE fears that the closure of community radio stations will cut off a vital community voice in Brazil and clearly constitute censorship.

We understand that the decision to close the stations was made after an argument was put forward by the Sao Paulo Radio and Television Broadcast Association, claiming that the radio stations interfered with airplane flights in the area. However, Ricardo Nogueria, Aeronautical group captain of the Regional Flight Protection Service of Sao Paulo, refuted the claim that radio stations could effect flights.

We support the Forum for Democratic Communication, the Professional Journalists' Union and many other organizations which have spoken out against the decision and are planning an appeal on the grounds that the decision is unconstitutional. At a recent gathering of 16 community radio organizations, the planned closure of the 2000 radio station was called "one of the worst infractions against freedom of expression in Brazil".

We believe that censorship of 2000 vital community radio stations, for whatever reason, is deplorable. We join the many organizations in Brazil and internationally to urge you to rescind this decision. CJFE will be monitoring this situation on behalf of the international community defending the right to free expression.

Yours Sincerely,

Sharmini Peries
CJFE Executive Director

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