Government steps up hounding of private media through new laws and regulations

first_img Organisation RSF_en VenezuelaAmericas Help by sharing this information Follow the news on Venezuela News Coronavirus “information heroes” – journalism that saves lives Reporters Without Borders today warned of the dangers of legal changes announced by the government in the past few weeks with the sole aim of punishing media taking an editorial stance contrary to government aims. Privately-owned news channel Globovisión, which is already facing five separate proceedings threatening its terrestrial broadcasts is now at risk of even more imminent loss of its frequency concession that was due to run until 2013.Minister of Public Works and Housing, Diosdado Cabello – who controls the Venezuelan Communications Authority (Conatel) – said on 9 July that the state was planning to recover the administration of 50% of the channel’s licence, as one of the franchise holders had just died. Receive email alerts News July 21, 2009 – Updated on January 20, 2016 Government steps up hounding of private media through new laws and regulations August 25, 2020 Find out more News “Does the Bolivarian government seriously believe there will be general acceptance of its policy of obstructing or censoring media that are not compliant enough for its liking?” the worldwide press freedom organisation asked. “Does it really think its citizens are not sufficiently adult to form their own opinions?“These legal manoeuvres are supposed to ‘protect the mental health’ of the people. Regulations and laws changed or reinterpreted by a government to impose what it sees as the only possible media truth are just the instruments of an ideological crusade that is already well under way”, it said. “We urge the government to shelve steps contrary to fundamental constitutional principles and inter-American jurisprudence on freedom of expression.”, it concluded.If it loses its terrestrial concession, Globovisión can continue broadcasts on cable as does Radio Caracas Televisión (RCTV) which failed to get its terrestrial frequency renewed in May 2007. However the two channels will not escape broadcasting President Hugo Chávez’s “cadenas” – speeches of indeterminate length that all terrestrial outlets must air at the same time. Under the Law on Social Responsibility in Radio and Television (Resorte), cable channels have to show that more than 70% of their production is of foreign origin to get out of the “cadenas”. Globovisión, which has been accused of “media terrorism” by the head of state’s supporters, is the target of a vilification campaign echoed by some public media. A massive review of the legality of broadcasts by 240 radio stations was begun on 17 July 2009, affecting 40% of the radio landscape. Closure of frequencies deemed illegal would be accompanied by seizure of broadcast equipment and a five-year broadcast ban. Despite protests from Venezuela’s Radio Chamber, the minister, Diosdado Cabello ruled out any consultation with the radio sector which he referred to as “oligarchic“. Media representatives cannot even publicly defend their case and the criteria for frequency review have not been made public. “Radio is one of the few places where the Revolution has not made itself felt”, the minister said.The Attorney General, Luisa Ortega Díaz, on 3 July called on the National Assembly to adopt a law punishing “media crimes”, in cases where the media provoked “anxiety, concern and panic” within the country’s population. This announcement followed the broadcast of community messages in favour of private property on privately-owned Venevisión, Televen, Globovisión, Meridiano TV and on Onda 107.9 and Fiesta 106.5 radio.(Photo : AFP) to go further VenezuelaAmericas Two journalists murdered just days apart in Venezuela January 13, 2021 Find out more News New wave of censorship targeting critical media outlets June 15, 2020 Find out morelast_img