Participants: Asociación Mundial de Radios Comunitarias (AMARC-ALC)

Countries: Regional
Topics: Right to Freedom of Expression

On October 29, 2010, Inter-American Commissioners, José de Jesús Orozco Henríquez and María Silvia Guillén, as well as Catalina Botero, the Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression at the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights (IACHR), presided as petitioners from the Asociación Mundial de Radios Comunitarias para América Latina y el Caribe (AMARC-ALC) asked the Commission to consider integrating into its system a compiled list of 40 principles they believe would lead to greater diversity and pluralism in broadcasting in the Americas.  Petitioners argued that restrictions put on radio and audiovisual broadcasting in Latin America and the Caribbean have led to human rights violations as they restrict the freedom of expression of the citizens of countries where such laws have been implemented. AMARC-ALC pointed to the switch from analog to digital audiovisual signals throughout the Americas as an opportunity for the situation to either be bettered, by allowing access of such platforms to private, community and public entities, or to be worsened, by allowing further concentration of such platforms to those who currently hold power over them.  As a demonstration of the effect the switch from analog could have, petitioners looked at Mexico as an example.  There, they pointed out, an analog blackout will be put into effect by 2015 leaving those without the resources to support digital signals in the dark..

The petitioners concluded their statements by saying that Mexico and other countries implementing similar restrictions are not taking into consideration a majority of the population.  They insisted that these regulations do not look beyond the spread of governmental divisions and the commercial sector and that they do not consider the general public, although the effects of such implementation are felt by all.