The Closing of the Venezuelan Press


According to a report in the Miami Herald, Venezuela is threatening to close yet another opposition television station. The anti-Chavez channel Globovision, which the Dear Leader recently called an "an enemy of the Venezuelan people," is up for its broadcast license renewal in November. In a press release, Inter American Press Association said it was "currently detecting government stances against Globovisión similar to the ones that preceded the shutdown of Venezuela's other independent television network, RCTV…" (RCTV, founded in 1953, was knocked off the air last May when the Chavez government refused to renew its broadcast license.). From the Miami Herald's report:

The threats against Globovisión have prompted the Inter American Press Association to express its concern.

"It would be disastrous for the people and their right to know if [Globovisión] were to cease operations," said Gonzalo Marroquín, editor of a Guatemala City daily, Prensa Libre, and chairman of the press association's Committee on Freedom of the Press and Information. The group will hold its midyear meeting in Caracas at the end of March, and its leaders are hoping to take their concerns directly to Chávez.

For his part, [station owner Alberto] Ravell doubts Chávez will risk trying to close the station.

"We're kind of a trophy for the government to say that there is freedom of expression in Venezuela," Ravell said in his office. Still, he fears that the government could cite a vague 3-year-old measure—known as the Law of Social Responsibility in Radio and Television—to attempt to close down Globovisión.

Information and Communication Minister Andreas Izarra told Venezuelan daily El National that the government had no plans to shut down the station.

In other Venezuelan news, President Chavez managed to blame violence in Tibet and China (which, according to the latest reports, includes Chinese riot police open-firing on marching Buddist monks and nuns) on the "empire":

Venezuela's socialist President Hugo Chavez blamed the United States for violent protests in Tibet during the last two weeks that he said were aimed at trying to destabilize China. In comments reported by his press office on Sunday, Chavez said the protests were an example of the U.S. "empire" "going against China" and trying to divide the Asian powerhouse.