Activism in Landscapes – Culture, Spectrum and Latin America

In January 2013, an ordinance was published by the Public Prosecutor’s Office of Campinas (SP, Brazil) initiating a civil investigation against Rádio Muda FM, a free and independent radio station with its studios in the State University of Campinas. 1 The investigation was initially based on the 9.472 Bill of 1997 which states that one who “develops telecommunication activities clandestinely” could face up to eight years of detention. This situation, far from being unique to Rádio Muda, is a regular practice towards unlicensed radios in Latin America. Hence, the criminalisation of small-scale broadcasters shows us what is at stake when it comes to the use of the common good under the responsibility of the state. This sort of privatisation of radio space is also a criminalisation of aesthetics, as the infrastructure used by many to express themselves is determined by institutions. Consequently, the free use of a technically open infrastructure and the alternative organisation of parts of society are being rendered illegal.

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