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Orania radio station kicked off the air

Published Nov 9, 2005

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Accused of spouting racist views, the official radio station of the all-white enclave of Orania in the Northern Cape has been kicked off the air for broadcasting without a licence.

The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) said on Tuesday that Radio Club 100, which broadcasts exclusively for Orania, was shut down after the regulator found it was not licensed to operate.

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The regulator said the decision to confiscate the station's equipment and press legal action was because it had been broadcasting racist and right-wing views that could be offensive.

"Our monitors were of the view that it was a racist-based station and very right-wing," said Lydia de Souza, Icasa's senior manager.

"Since the station was run by pirates, they covered only Orania and catered for the people who live there."

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Fearful that democracy would threaten their way of life, a handful of white Afrikaners bought an entire town in the early 1990s to try to build their dream of a whites-only Afrikaner homeland.

The government has refused to grant it the autonomy it seeks, and many see Orania as a last vestige of apartheid ideology.

Orania's management confirmed that Icasa had raided Radio Club 100 late on Monday but said the station had repeatedly applied for a licence and was merely carrying out tests, not officially broadcasting.

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It denied charges of racism on the airwaves and said the station broadcast harmless news about birthdays and social events.

Icasa said the maximum fine for broadcasting without a licence was R1-million a day but added that the penalty would probably be much lighter. - Reuters

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