Venezuela president Hugo Chavez continued his assault on free speech and the free press with the closing of Radio Caracas Television (RCTV), the last major television channel offering criticism of his regime. Previously, his government kicked the station off free television channels. RCTV then continued to criticize his policies on cable. Now it has been barred from any broadcast.
The Chavez regime insists that the decision was due to such implausible violations as not playing the national anthem and failing to warn before it aired violent scenes.
This brings a new civil liberties meaning to former Federal Communications Commission (FCC) chairman Newton N. Minow’s famous reference to a “vast wasteland” on television. Chavez’s friendship with leaders like Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad seems to extend to their preference to have media span the full gamut from adoration to breathless adoration. From now on the only critics on Venezuelan television will be those commentators criticizing Chavez for being too good to the people and working too hard.
Despite Chavez’s crackdown on critics, thousands took to the streets recently to protest his policies, here.
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