Galicia’s Government forces the closure of CUAC’s FM broadcasting

The members of CUAC FM decided on Thursday 28 September 2017 to cease their FM broadcasting after receiving a notification of sanction by the Xunta de Galicia, that threatens to fine the radio station with between 100 thousand and 200 thousand euros for broadcasting “without having the corresponding license “. The assembly that manages the radio decided to keep only its online broadcasting, both livestreaming, and podcast.

AMARC Europe opposes the Galician government decision that can only be viewed as a breach of the Right to Communicate (article 19 of the UN Human Rights Declaration) and the 2010 Spanish Audiovisual Law.

The decision of the Galician government has been received with frustration and surprised by CUAC FM volunteers as, in fact, for years the radio station has been demanding that the Galician Government comply with the General Law on Audiovisual Communication approved in 2010, which recognises the community media as a citizens’ right (Article 4) and establishes the right to pre-existing Community radio and television broadcasting to access licenses or authorisations in the area of coverage in which they were already providing their activity (Transitory Provision 14).

Furthermore, the station press release points out that “in these 21 years of service to the community CUAC FM has never received a communication, complaint or notification of any kind about its activity, and has never interfered with nor harmed the broadcasting of any other radio station in Galicia.” In addition, “the Xunta de Galicia is aware of the existence of Cuac FM since the beginning of its broadcasts” and that “the relations of this station with the General Secretariat of the Media have been numerous.”

CUAC FM, which began broadcasting on March 27, 1996, is the oldest community radio of Galicia. Based in A Coruña, CUAC FM is one of the most active throughout the Spanish State, and enjoys a great social implantation in the city, with more than 1,200 people being engaged in programming with the radio station. CUAC FM is also supported by A Coruña University and of numerous social entities. Below you can find CUAC FM press release.

 

OFFICIAL COMMUNICATION: CUAC TURNS OFF 103.4 FM

From Cuac FM, and with enormous regret, we have to inform that on 21 September, after 21 years of broadcasting, the Xunta de Galicia, through its General Secretariat of the Media, informed Cuac FM of the launch of legal proceedings against the radio station for broadcasting “without having the corresponding license”. CUAC is exposed to an administrative penalty ranging from €100,001 to € 200,000.

In light of these facts, the Collective of Active University Students (CUAC) wants to point out the following:

  1. In these 21 years of service to the community, Cuac FM never received any communication, complaint or notification of any kind regarding its activity, and never interfered nor damaged the broadcasting of any other radio station in Galicia.
  2. The Xunta de Galicia has evidence of the existence of Cuac FM even before the start of its emissions – on March 27, 1996. The communications of this station with the General Secretariat responsible for this legal procedure were numerous and always initiated by CUAC. CUAC has repeatedly requested the reservation of radio-electric space for community-based not-for-profit radio stations and the licensing of these broadcasting services, even if they were on a provisional basis, to safeguard the activity of the few free community broadcasters that exist in Galicia.
  3. CUAC has been vindicating and working, for two decades, at the Galician, state and European level, for the defence of the exercise of the fundamental right to freedom of expression and information, an inalienable right that is recognized by the Declaration of Human Rights ( UN, 1948) and by article 20.1.a) of the Spanish Constitution. This work is coordinated with the Community Media Network (REMC) and the World Association of Community Radios (AMARC), of which CUAC is a part.
  4. CUAC has repeatedly called for the Xunta de Galicia to apply in our autonomous territory the General Law of Audiovisual Communication 7/2010 that recognizes, in its article 4, the community media as a citizens’ right and establishes the right to pre-existing Community radio and television broadcasting to access licenses or authorisations in the area of coverage in which they were already providing their activity (Transitory Provision 14).
  5. CUAC denounces the non-compliance by the public administrations of said General Audiovisual Communication Law of 2010, in a degree of omission, since no license was granted for non-profit community communication services within seven years after the entry into force of the law. The state repeatedly fails to comply with the mandate to develop the required regulations, in spite of the reminder that the Ombudsman’s office made in that regard in 2012.
  6. The exercise of freedom of expression through any means is a right of citizenship that cannot be coerced or can be eternally delayed due to the inactivity of public powers, as the courts of justice have recognised. The radioelectric space is a good public domain managed by the administration for the benefit of all citizens. Numerous international laws and resolutions regarding the right to communication, such as the declarations of the European Parliament (2008), European Council of Ministers (2009), or of the speakers of the freedom of expression of the UN, the OSCE or the UNESCO, point out the right of people to create their own means of information. In Spain and Galicia, this right has been kidnapped by the inactivity of the administration, which, nevertheless, has called for tenders for the granting of commercial licenses to companies for profit.
  7. The right of existence of community media is largely supported by the Spanish Parliament. Such support was manifested with the approval of all political parties (being the Popular Party the only vote against) of a Parliamentary motion presented on June 21, 2017 in the Committee on Energy, Tourism and Digital Agenda of the Congress of the Deputies. Said motion urges the Spanish State Government to “Regulate the granting of temporary authorizations to Community radio and television services that were in operation before January 1, 2009”.
  8. Cuac FM is a non-profit Community Broadcaster that was created in 1996 to guarantee the exercise of the right of access to communication and the freedom of expression of citizenship, continuing its activity continuously, 365 days per year. We have reached the 452 broadcast programmes, with more than 1,200 people accessing our studios and hundreds of associations, groups and educational centres have passed through our waves. In these nearly 22 years, Cuac FM did not reject any of the programme applications submitted for its broadcast.

 The Xunta de Galicia has been deaf to all this legal itinerary while it is committed to the extermination of the only not-for-profit community communication service in the city of A Coruña, contradicting also the motion approved in 2016 by the Plenary of the local government of the City of A Coruña, aimed at protecting these services, and in particular, Cuac FM.

Yesterday, September 28, 2017, the General Assembly of members and members of the Collective of Active University Students decided to cease broadcasting in modulated frequency (FM) until this situation is solved, although maintaining its online presence -livestreaming and podcasting.

The General Assembly has also approved the development of a strategy to defend the right to communicate of the citizenship at legal, political and social level, which will mobilize all its material and human resources, in the conviction that the only effective way to defend human rights is through its exercise.

Finally, Cuac FM would like to thank all the people and institutions that supported us during these years and that will surely continue to accompany us in the future, with special mention to the University of A Coruña. Finally, we appeal to all social agents, groups, associations, and individuals to help us defend their right to free, democratic and plural communication. Today is Cuac FM, tomorrow may be any other space of social communication.

Whoever has honour, follow us.

A Coruña, September 29, 2017

The Assembly of Members and Partners of the Collective of Active University Students