Banned books and other forms of censorship

On the banning of books, censorship and other freedom of access issues

Monday, January 29, 2007

Venezuela television station to close

Venezuela president Hugo Chavez has announced that the leading independent television station in the country will not have its license renewed, and hence will be closed in May. Chavez accused the station, Radio Caracas Television (RCTV), of spreading disinformation and broadcasting soap operas which violate the government restrictions under its 2004 media law against sex and violence. "It's hard to imagine a more obvious case of censorship," said Jose Miguel Vivanco, the Americas director for Human Rights Watch. "President Chavez decided to punish the television channel because he doesn't approve its editorial line." Although there are still other opposition media in the country, RCTV was the largest private television station on the country and most widely viewed; its closure will likely cripple the expression of opposition or independent views in the country. Chicago Tribune reporter Richard Marx contrasted RCTV with state-sponsored media:

"Programming on the state's longtime flagship station, Venezolana de Television, often resembles a giant campaign ad for Chavez and his populist policies. One spot broadcast last week equated capitalism with misery and hate, while praising socialism as embodying equality and collectivism."

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