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A bill before Argentina's Senate proposing jail terms of up to two years for unauthorised broadcasting would unjustly penalise community radio and other non-commercial stations, says the Argentine Association for the Defence of Independent Journalism (la Asociacion para la Defensa del Periodismo Independiente, PERIODISTAS). The group says thousands of unlicenced broadcasters all over the country would be vulnerable to prison sentences, threatening the only information source available to marginal sectors of society.

Reporters Without Borders (Reporters sans frontières, RSF) says the bill is meant to stop radio broadcasts from interfering with the automatic landing system at Buenos Aires airport. The system has been disturbed several times by radio broadcasts, posing a risk to airplanes and passengers. However, both licenced and unlicenced broadcasters have been found to be the cause of the interference, leading RSF to wonder whether unlicenced broadcasters are being unfairly targeted. In addition, licenced stations have continued broadcasting despite repeated warnings from the National Communications Commission.

PERIODISTAS says the bill has been proposed without the consultation of civil society organisations such as itself and the Argentine Forum for Community Radio (FARCO).

For more information, see and (in Spanish only).

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