Sunday, June 03, 2007


Chavez puts his foot down

Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez has finally moved to against Radio Caracas Television and Globovison. He has not closed them down, he has simply refused to renew the licences of these seditious elements and frankly I'm surprised that it took him so long to silence them.
This is not an issue of free speech as some agencies would have you believe. They can still broadcast, but not on public airwaves. They are able to use cable.
But of course that doesn't stop Human Rights Watch and various journalists' organisations trying to make it an issue of freedom of speech. Their fires were fanned when last week Chavez moved to count these two stations among "enemies of the homeland".
It's interesting to see the spin put on this issue by the multinational foreign press agencies. The one-sided coverage makes Chavez to be a capricious dictator, bent on stifling freedom of speech in his country without any reason. This is just not true.
RCTV was an institution in Venezuela, being the first station to have live from satellite images and having produced Radio Rochela a long running political satire, and a very popular soap opera Por Estas Calles.
But the facts of the issue are that RCTV is controlled by the very rich Marcel Granier, president of the 1BC Group, which controls about 40 radio and TV channels, an outspoken critic of the democratically elected president.
Outspoken is one thing, sedition is another.
Garnier and his cronies have been hit hard by Chavez and his "Bolivarian Revolution", and must see the writing on the wall for their over-the-top lifestyles. Needless to say RCTV was not given to showing anything positive about Chavez.
But during the violence in April, 2002, in which there was an attempted coup against the President, and some well respected American news channels revealed themselves as a biased government lackeys, RCTV stepped well over the line.
Two days before the coup attempt it took its usual programmes off the air and ran 24 hour coverage of the strikes aimed to oust Chavez. For comment they allowed a slew of "commentators" to attack him but did not allow him or the government to respond.
That is not journalism.
Then this media icon ran adverts encouraging people to attend the march on April 11 aimed and once again gave events minute by minute coverage. Just vitally interested in home events? I think not.
Add to that the coverage of the violence in which they ran doctored videos to blame Chavez supporters for the deaths and injuries and you see where suddenly the respected 4th estate becomes a polecat. Doctoring images is forbidden.
On the flip side, when Chavez left the scene for a few days and military rebels claimed a "victory" over the President, Chavistas took to the streets demanding his reinstatement. RCTV didn't cover that.
At National Assembly hearings after the fact Andres Izarra, the RCTV News Director, testified that he had been given orders from his bosses: "Zero pro-Chavez, nothing related to Chavez or his supporters…. The idea was to create a climate of transition and to start to promote the dawn of a new country.” So while the rioting and mayhem was going on, his station ran movies and cartoons.
It's interesting to note that Pedro Carmona - who was installed to replace the democratically elected Chavez - basically destroyed the country's Supreme Court, Constitution and National Assembly. Yet Granier was there among the other media chiefs at the Miraflores palace to pledge support for him.
In what western country would a radio station be allowed to operate that attempted to violently depose the democratically elected president?

But Chavez has allowed RCTV to continue to operate for five years now.
He has not shut the station down so much as declined to let it use public airwaves. It can still broadcast on cable.
Most Venezuelan media are still controlled by the old money and are still anti-Chavez - and they still operate.

Very well written. It is good to get the facts out there sometimes hmm. I am surprised Chavez has lasted this long.
Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?