Venezuela: Chavez to shut down a second TV station

Reuters reports that Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez may shut down a second, smaller broadcaster, Globovision, for having allegedly organized an assassination attempt on the president:

Chavez took Radio Caracas Television, or RCTV, off the air at midnight on Sunday and replaced it with a state-run channel to promote his socialist programs. The move sparked international condemnation and accusations from the opposition that he was undermining democracy in the
OPEC nation.

Protests over the closure of RCTV, Venezuela's oldest private channel, simmered in several Venezuelan cities on Monday. In some locations, the police used tear gas to disperse the crowds.

Seizing on the momentum of RCTV's closure, Communications Minister Willian Lara presented a case to the state prosecutor's office saying experts hired by the ministry had found that opposition broadcaster Globovision was inciting assassination attempts on Chavez.

As evidence, he cited Globovision showing footage of an assassination attempt against
Pope John Paul II in 1981 accompanied by the song "This Does Not Stop Here," sung by Ruben Blades, now Panama's minister of tourism.


Committee for the Protection of Journalists has published a list of recommendations to the Chavez government: Link.

Many more reader comments have come in about the earlier closure of RCTV, I'll post some of them here now.

Simon Garcia says,

Here is a link to pictures of the protests held today by university students against the government measure to close RCTV and being repressed by police forces.
I stress 'close' because even though technically the government decided not to renew the airwaves transmission license. It is clearly a political retaliation measure because they didn't press any charges against RCTV for the coup and didn't give RCTV any chances to explain the reasons why the license wasn't renewed even though RCTV had to have by law preference to get it renewed and the government had plenty of more frequencies to set a new channel.
The whole issue is explained very clearly at this CPJ article.

carlosCCS says,

Here is video of students protesting the RCTV shutdown. Dozens of students have been harmed by armed forces just because they were supporting the freedom of speech at the state half-funded USB (Universidad Simon Bolivar) one of the oldest and most respectable science and engineering schools in Latin America.

However hundreds are marching through the streets to demand the right of speech. According to Venezuela's civil laws no security force is entitled to break in any autonomous school of studies.

This is like the birth of a dictatorship right in front of our eyes. Right now, state owned and financed independent leftist tv stations and websites are celebrating the recent closing down of a critical tv station (RCTV) as a victory of democracy and freedom of speech, the people's democracy. Or as the common state sponsored slogan has it "Con Chávez Manda el Pueblo", (With Chavez the people rules")

Things are gettin ugly. Please keep an eye on us, dude.

YOUTUBE VIDEOS: one, two, three.

Ik and others pointed to the same video of protests at USB. Ik says,

For some of you who doesn't know about USB, its like the Harvard of Venezuela, populated by lots of science students, a geek house if like. I'm not in favor of any of the two sides, pro-goverment or anti-goverment, but the videos speak for themselfs.
I hope you see them and post them, people need to know whats really happening here, either side it's a saint, but at some fronts, fair and justice are like black and white.

Pablo Ortega says,

In this blog post you can find some more information about the venezuelan situation. The main reason why RCTV is now no more is purely hatred. Just to show you how corrupted and dirty the government is 2 quick things:

The head of the military that was on power when Chavez stepped down for a couple of days in April 2002, Lucas Rincon, who said in national TV that Chavez had resigned is now the Venezuelan ambassador in Portugal…
The Ex-president of the CNE, Venezuelan electoral power, that headed the last "clean" elections against Chavez, is now a couple of months later, Vice president of Venezuela… May god bring peace and justice to Venezuela soon.

Helio Miguel says,

I should remind you that Chavez himself led a coup d'état in 1992, 10 years before this another coup people are referring to. So he's also very into this subject, not just a poor victim. Not that RCTV was right to support the 2002's coup. But what he's trying now is shut the mouths of people that may oppose his plans to change the constitution to permit infinite reelection (plans that he doesn't hide from anyone).

Previously on BB:

  • Venezuelan media crackdown: the other POV
  • Venezuelan media crackdown: TV anchors sign off, mouths shut

    (posted on the road in central america / xeni)