Threatening another TV network that dares to confront a socialist dictator, which is exactly what Hugo Chavez has done.
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez on Tuesday called opposition news channel Globovision an enemy of the state and said he would do what was needed to stop it from inciting violence, only days after he shut another opposition broadcaster.
Tens of thousands of Venezuelans marched in Caracas in a fourth consecutive day of protests over Chavez's closure of the RCTV network - a move which has sparked international criticism that the leftist leader's reforms are undermining democracy.
State television showed hundreds of government supporters marching in downtown Caracas celebrating Chavez's decision.
"Enemies of the homeland, particularly those behind the scenes, I will give you a name: Globovision. Greetings gentlemen of Globovision, you should watch where you are going," Chavez said in a broadcast all channels had to show.
"I recommend you take a tranquilizer and get into gear, because if not, I am going to do what is necessary."
More below the fold.
Why is Chavez so upset? My take is that Globovision is the only network televising the anti-Chavez protests. How dare such a network exercise its right to free speech. The pro-Chavez networks, both government and privately owned, have blacked out these anti-Chavez events, preferring to show shiny happy socialists. The Devil's Excrement:
Remarkably, there were little news from other sources. Many websites were down, either because they had too much traffic or were being attacked, while the other TV stations, Government or private, paid little attention to what was happening in the streets. But Globovision did and it included coverage of a pro-Chávez demonstration which was so 'spontaneous" that most people had red t-shirts on with the printed logo of the new Government TV station that is replacing RCTV. Even more cynical, while anti-Government protestors were being gassed for blocking streets, metropolitan police led and protected the pro-Chávez march in downtown Caracas which had no permit, showing once again the double standard being used by the Government. By the end of the day, rumors were strong that Globovision would be shut down for three days as a way of "cooling" the streets. I really hope they do it so that, the beginning of the Chavez Dictatorship can be ratified and made official.
The Caracas Chronicles:
Curiously, the "public service" TV station that has just taken over Channel 2's signal hasn't broadcast any news so far about the protests taking place all over the country against the blow to free expression that was taking RCTV off the air.
But it's not just TVES, none of the state run channels, or the private ones that have lined up behind the government, such as Venevisión, has reflected on their screens what has been happening on the streets.
The blackout - one-sided information or zero information - has become a government policy. To ignore all that isn't convenient is the line handed down to the salaried journalists and parasitic businessman: only pre-approved propaganda is accepted. The media outlets that refuse to follow this order are pressured impudently, through their advertisers. Companies that buy advertising space get called, threatened and blackmailed.
How much easier it will be for Chavez's Bolivarian goon squads to crack some heads without the glare of the cameras watching. I predict that it won't be long before the blogs and Internet sites are targeted. Perhaps YouTube has come none too soon but maybe not. After all, months ago Chavez announced that he will nationalize the telecom industry. Finally, a word from Reporters Without Borders:
Reporters Without Borders today called for international condemnation of President Hugo Chávez’s decision not to renew the licence of Venezuela’s oldest TV station, Radio Caracas Television (RCTV), which was finally forced to stop broadcasting at midnight last night.
"The closure of RCTV, which was founded in 1953, is a serious violation of freedom of expression and a major setback to democracy and pluralism," the press freedom organisation said. "President Chávez has silenced Venezuela’s most popular TV station and the only national station to criticise him, and he has violated all legal norms by seizing RCTV’s broadcast equipment for the new public TV station that is replacing it."
Reporters Without Borders continued: "The grounds given for not renewing RCTV’s licence, including its support, along with other media, for the April 2002 coup attempt, are just pretexts. Other privately-owned TV stations that supported the coup attempt have not suffered the same fate because they subsequently adopted a subservient attitude towards the regime."
Directly or indirectly, President Chávez now controls almost all the broadcast media. RCTV’s closures is not, as he would have people believe, a mere administrative measure. It is a political move designed to reinforce his hegemony over the news media.
RCTV is the NBC of Venezuela. That's how big a deal this is. Ironic that a leader so concerned with American hegemony is so eager to exercise the same over his own countrymen. A case of projection perhaps?