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Globovision Fined $2 Million by Venezuela National Telecommunications Commission
In a move widely considered to be political, Venezuela’s National Telecommunications Commission handed down a fine of $2 million dollars against Globovision, the only remaining independent television station critical of Hugo Chavez. According to Venezuelan authorities, the fine stems from the station’s alleged “editorial misconduct” during Globovision’s coverage of a deadly prison riot in June that resulted in a 27 day standoff and left 3 people dead. The telecommunications regulatory body has accused Globovision of stirring anxiety and instigating intolerance by running emotional interviews with families of the prisoners. According to Globovision payment of this fine will bring the organization to the brink of bankruptcy; an outcome they believe is the goal of the regime as it works to silence any media that opposes it.
President Chavez has been highly critical of opposition media. Harassment by police and violence against journalists has been all too common. The owner of Globovision faced criminal charges in June 2010 for spreading false information and insulting the president. Leading up to September 2010’s parliamentary elections, there were increasing crackdowns on independent media and more than 30 radio and television stations were closed under Venezuela’s Law of Social Responsibility in Radio and Television, which punishes journalists for being critical of authorities.
Freedom House strongly condemns the ongoing persecution of independent media in Venezuela and calls on the National Telecommunication Commission to withdraw the fine against Globovision and allow all media outlets to report the news without interference or penalty.