Peru pulls net’s license

Violation of telecommunications law leads to suspension

LIMA — Peru’s government decided Thursday to temporarily revoke the broadcast license of Panamericana Television-Canal 5, a week after a dispute between shareholders exploded in violence outside the network’s studios.

The transportation and telecommunications minister and the minister of justice announced that the net had violated the country’s telecommunications law by broadcasting competing programming through the transmission tower in Lima, the capital, and its satellite network throughout the country.

The suspension will remain in effect until the legal problems between the net’s shareholders are sorted out in the courts.

A series of contradictory judicial rulings handed down since July 11 have awarded control of the net to two groups of shareholders, one headed by Genaro Delgado Parker and another by Ernesto Schutz Jr.

Delgado Parker’s group controls the net’s news studio and the transmission tower in Lima, while Schutz and his allies control the satellite link.

The two sides faced off outside the net’s studios July 11 in a violent scuffle after one judge awarded control to Schutz. Delgado Parker had wrested control of Panamericana from the Schutz group in February. Four additional rulings have been handed down in the past week, two favoring Schutz and two favoring Delgado Parker.

Since then, residents in Lima have been watching canned programming, repeats of variety shows and the net’s nightly news, supplied by Delgado Parker. Outside of the capital, viewers have been tuning in to soaps imported from Brazil and talkshows filmed in the studios, courtesy of Schutz.

Delgado Parker and Schutz rejected the measures, saying the ministry had overstepped its bounds. They took turns at press conferences blaming each other for the problems.

Panamericana’s ratings have nose-dived in the past week, with its top-rated news programs and soaps losing their first-place ratings slots to rival America Television-Canal 4. Panamericana’s rival shareholder groups agree that the net is losing $200,000 a day in advertising.