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Mexican community radio activist released from prison; still faces charges

Community radio and free speech activists around the world are following the case of Alma Delia Olivares, a Mexican journalist now released after days of detention in late February. Various news items say that Olivares still faces charges that include “audio pollution” and “illegal use of the nation’s good.” The World Association of Community Radio Broadcasters (AMARC) suspects that her real sin was helping to start a community radio station in Omealca, Veracruz: “La Cabina” (The Telephone Box).

“As Mexican community radios are still facing many obstacles to broadcast legally, their representatives are often targets of abusive penal process so they are silenced,” an AMARC statement released yesterday concludes:

“The purposes of the station served to improve the region’s communication technology. Radio stations in the region were previously non-existent and La Cabina introduced a public forum for the community to question governmental decisions — mainly those of the Mayor. The radio station was subsequently closed following Alma’s arrest.”

AMARC says that the government has accused Olivares of crimes that do not exist in Mexican law. “These charges were not notified to her when she was first arrested.” She languished in a prison in Nayarit for five days before being released. La Cabina staff have paid the government the equivalent of about 2,000 USD for illegal broadcasting. 

Our sources on this story are very sketchy (some posts identify Alma as a man). Searching for more information about La Cabina, we’ve located a May to July 2013 Indiegogo campaign for a signal with that moniker hailing from southern Veracruz (see YouTube below).

Updates on this situation as we get them. Here’s a statement from AMARC Mexico.

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