One of the most outspoken radio stations in this tightly controlled country is operated by the Roman Catholic Archidocese of San Salvador.

While government-controlled stations transmit official communiques, station YSAX, owned and operated by the Archdiocese of San Salvador, digs out the news.

Last month, for example, other stations carried the terse item that polcie had killed five unidentified perosns and arrested 33 members of a "subversive organization."

YSAX listeners heard a far different version of the incident.

"Early this morning," YSAX announced on Jan. 20, "Salvadoran security forces raided a building at San Antonio Abad parish and killed Father Octavio Ortiz Luna and at least four youths whose names we do not yet know. The police also arrested 33 young people and a [num], Sister Chepita."

"It is clear," the announcer said, "that allthese persons were attending a Christian initiation course approved by the archdiocese.

"Archbishop Oscar Romero of San Salvador has denied the government's version of the incident and accused the authorities of trying to cover up this new crime by twisting the facts and slandering the victims as being terrorists."

YSAX went on to report that the archbishop was going to celebrate mass for those killed and arrested on the following day. More than 25,000 people responded, filling the cathedral and the plaza outside.

YSAX also covers divisions of opinion within the Salvadoran Catholic Church. When Archbishop Romero and Bishop Arturo Rivera supported independent peasant organizations in a confrontation with landowners, YSAX reported it. And when the four other Salvadoran bishops publicly disavowed such organizations, Archbishop Romero heard his own radio station reporting that too.

Aside from news reports, YSAX's most popular program consits of the Sunday sermons of Archbishop Romero during masses broadcast live from the cathedral. The prelate doesn't mince words. In a recent homily, he said that the government's version of Father Ortiz's death was "a lie from start to finish."

The archbishop also contradicted a recent statement by President Carlos Humberto Romero (no relation to the archbishop) that there is no persecution of the church in the country.

"There is persecution of the church," the prelate declared, but the basic conflict is not between the government and the church, he said. "The conflict is between the government and the people. And the church is with the people, and the people, thank God are with the church."

When U.S. Rep. Robert Drinan (D-Mass.) reported on his visit to E1 Salvador last year, the Jesuit congressman said, "We heard countless persons tell us they were afraid to listen to the mass on the radio station becaue of government intimidation."