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Radio technician arrested and charged; radio station's programming seized

(RSF/IFEX) - On 13 November 1997, on orders of a prosecutor,
police arrested Stravros Statopoulos, a radio technician for
Athens International which broadcasts English-language
programming of the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC). The
programming itself was also seized. Athens International
reportedly "violated the rules on radio frequencies."

The actions by police followed a complaint lodged by local
residents who were annoyed by signals from the station's
transmitter which were interfering with their televisions and

After spending the night at a police station, Statopoulos was
brought before the prosecutor and charged with not being in
possession of a broadcasting licence. Nevertheless, the directors
of Athens International, John Rigos and Paul Anastasi, claim that
they had provided the Ministry of Press and Communications with
all the necessary documents at the beginning of 1997.

The trial has been set for 28 November. Until that time, Athens
International will not be able to broadcast.

Recommended Action

Send appeals to authorities:
  • protesting the arrest of Stravros Statopoulos and the
    confiscation of some of Athens International's programming
  • pointing out that the incident highlights the legislative gaps
    in regard to the regulation of radio frequencies while the
    government, in the past few weeks, has begun an overhaul of the
  • calling on them to do everything in their power so that Athens
    International can resume broadcasting as soon as possible

    Appeals To

    Dimitris Reppas
    Minister of Press and Communications
    Athens, Greece
    Fax: +301 36 20 249

    Evangelos Iannopoulos
    Minister of Justice
    Athens, Greece
    Fax: +301 21 63 52

    Please copy appeals to the source if possible.

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