Published: Sunday 31 July 2005

Mapuche Indians Argentina

The Argentine government has granted an operating license to a fm radio station run by the Mapuche Indian community, Linares. The station located in Aucapn municipality in the southern province of Neuqun was started way back in 1999, but ran without a license so far.

The station ran largely on expertise provided by the non-profit organisation, Argentina community radio forum. But no license meant finances were always a problem. "We air only two programmes, and like the station itself, they do not yet have names. We're somewhat disorganised," apologised Eugenio Linares, the station's technical operator.

Argentina's broadcasting laws prevent radio stations run by non-profit organisations. But there was good reason for the Argentina's Federal Broadcasting Commission, the state agency that issues operating permits, to modify rules. Besides the two programmes, the Linares station also plays crucial community service. Aucapn is situated in the foothills of the Andes and has no electricity or telephone services. So, radio is an invaluable means of communication for local residents.

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