Venezuela orders RCTV off of cable systems (updated).

Posted: 31 Jan 2010   Print   Send a link
"Venezuela ordered cable networks on Saturday to stop broadcasting an opposition station that President Hugo Chavez pushed off free-access television in 2007 in a case that sparked international criticism. ... Public Works Minister Diosdado Cabello said cable networks' programing could only include stations that obey Venezuelan broadcast law. The government notified the opposition station, RCTV, on Friday that its programing violated the law. ... Chavez in 2007 denied RCTV a renewal of its broadcast license, accusing the station of participating in the coup that briefly toppled him. ... RCTV in turn created a cable-based 'international' station based in Miami to avoid content restrictions. But the government determined that station was still subject to broadcast restrictions because most of its content was produced in Venezuela." Reuters, 23 January 2010.
     "[T]he rules approved by the agency last month only apply to cable stations that produce content within Venezuela. More than 160 other cable channels, including the Caracas-based and state-run Telesur network, CNN, Discovery, Fox, HBO, MTV, Sony, TNT, Univision and ESPN, are exempt from the new regulations... ." AP, 21 January 2010.
     Update: "One student was killed and nine police officers injured on Monday in the Venezuelan city of Merida in violence linked to protests over the suspension of a TV station opposed to President Hugo Chavez. ... Interior Minister Tareck El Aissami said late on Monday that 15-year-old Josino Jose Carrillo, a pro-Chavez high school student, was killed while participating in a demonstration in the Andean city of Merida. ... 'Any time the government shuts down an independent network, that is an area of concern,' U.S. State Department spokesman Philip Crowley said. Venezuela said Crowley 'lied' when he said the stations had been closed, and that the suspension could be reversed if they comply with a new law requiring them to broadcast some of Chavez's speeches, among other things." Reuters, 25 January 2010.
     "Any time a government shuts down an independent network, it is an area of concern of the United States. The U.S. values a free and vibrant press within our own society and promotes that ideal abroad as well. Venezuela should too, for as a member of the United Nations it has agreed to uphold the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which enshrines freedom of expression." Editorial "reflecting the views of the US government," Voice of America, 28 January 2010.
     "The Venezuelan Ministry of Foreign Affairs rejected on Tuesday the 'unwise' statements of a French official about the closure of the private TV network RCTV Internacional and asked it to rectify; otherwise it could be necessary to 'review' bilateral relations. ... On Monday, the spokesman of the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Bernard Valero, expressed on behalf of his government, the 'concern' about the 'decision' of the Venezuelan authorities to suspend the broadcast of several TV cable stations, and asked Venezuela to 'reverse quickly' its decision to guarantee 'pluralism of information,' AFP reported." VHeadline.com, 27 January 2010.
     "Internet analysts say Twitter, which blossomed before the protests but has exploded since they began, could change the face of politics in Venezuela, where hotly contested elections are approaching in September." Fox News, 29 January 2010. "Por primera vez en Venezuela, las redes sociales como Twitter y Facebook están jugando un papel central en la comunicación y coordinación de los opositores." El Nuevo Herald, 28 January 2010.
     "The U.S. is losing the battle against massive disinformation spawned by Chávez. If the Obama Administration wishes to preserve the security of the hemisphere, it must move to more proactive rebuttals with skilled public affairs efforts. Take the U.S. embassy's Web site in Caracas, http://caracas.usembassy.gov, which fails to post any information that challenges the outlandish assertions made by Chávez regarding U.S. policy in places like Colombia. In brief, the Obama Administration needs to develop an informational campaign to counter Chavista disinformaion." James Jay Carafano, GlobalSecurity.org, 25 January 2010.