Friday, July 03, 2009

The march against free press and media goes on in Venezuela

It would seem that the lack of spontaneous popular support about the desire of Chavez to go and invade Honduras is having an effect. Not to mention that the constant barrage of adds to defend private property sponsored by CEDICE since the Vargas Llosa spat seems to be irking chavismo big time.

So, what do they do?

They decide to review the operating license of all folks that passed these adds and in parliament attack the "cartelization" of the press on Honduras reporting. Let's start by the later one.

Tal Cual today offers us a whole survey on how the march toward censorship keeps going on in Venezuela. In a report on the workings of the Nazional Assembly we read, with picture in hand, that representatives accuse El Nacional and El Universal have formed a cartel in order to unify their criteria on how to discuss the Honduras news. I suppose that this blogger should also be included in this cartel, no? What surprises me more is how chavistas who seem unable to have an individual thought or opinion are surprised that the opposition coincides on Honduras. I mean, can we not be sheep like they are? But the explanation is to be found elsewhere for such a preposterous charge: the Nazional Assembly is rewriting laws on journalism and media and need any excuse they can to introduce ways to limit freedom of information and expression.

Back to our first, and more worrisome, observation. Diosdado Cabello, second man of the regime as a compensation for his ignominious defeat in his reelection attempt in Miranda, has decided to review the operating license of nothing less but 86 AM stations and 154 FM plus a few TV stations. From his declarations we can sense that most if not all are already condemned and that sanctions include confiscations of equipment. Legal robbery for those who do not get it.

But that is not all. CEDICE has been carrying a campaign to defend private property in Venezuela at a time when the government is trying to add unsuitable adjectives to the word "property", as a way to weaken it. Considering the multiple take overs without due compensation that we have observed since 2004, the fear of CEDICE , and the Venezuelan people and this blogger, is certainly not misplaced. Well, the ads must have hit a raw nerve because Cabello has also announced that the advertising campaign must be suspended and that the media who transmitted it will be investigated/sanctioned.

I have watched these ads and I can personally assure readers that they are not any worse than the garbage the state forces media to transmit free of charge in defense of a so called socialism. What we are seeing now is a simple censorship, repression, limitation of information about a truth that the government does not want us to know about. And this comes, sublime irony, from the people that bemoan the closing of media in Honduras.

To add insult to injury Tal Cual also reports that the two papers of Valencia, Notitarde and Carabobeño, have been attacked one after he other by red shirt hordes, directed at least one by nothing less than Valencia mayor, just as Los Teques mayor was directing the painting of swastikas on the walls of Miranda's governor's office.

It seems that the pressure on free media is not going to ease anytime soon. In fact, since recent polls show that Chavez personal popularity is going down as more and more people are finally starting to put the blame for bad things on him, we can expect the government to act once and for all and risk closing down a few media/paper outlets to see if the rest will tone down.

-The end-

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