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Mexico’s Canal 40 back on air

Gov't, TV Azteca to continue fight

MEXICO CITY — Canal 40 has won the latest round of its bitter David and Goliath battle with broadcast giant TV Azteca after President Vicente Fox’s government allowed the indy TV news station to resume broadcasts.

Canal 40 went back on air Tuesday for the first time in a month after a series of rulings by two judges, one civil and one criminal, forced the government to lift a police cordon surrounding a transmission tower and allow Canal 40 technicians to return to work.

However, the Secretariat of Communications and Transport continues to review the case and TV Azteca, Mexico’s number two broadcaster, also vowed to carry on fighting in the courts.

Canal 40 was forced off the air when TV Azteca personnel seized the Mexico City transmission tower in the early hours of Dec. 28.

After several days, the government reluctantly stepped in, taking control of the tower but preventing Canal 40 from getting back on-air.

The Azteca raid followed the bitter break-up of a 1998 strategic alliance between the two broadcasters which has bounced around Mexico’s courts for three years.

Both TV Azteca and the government will be hoping Canal 40’s return to the airwaves will stop a wave of bad publicity that has crashed down on them.

TV Azteca has been accused of violently taking the law into its own hands while the government has been charged with weakness for failing to assert the law and allowing one of the few TV news voices outside the TV Azteca-Televisa duopoly to be silenced.