Hugo Chavez says its time to give the media back to the people

New “media law” would make publishing opinion a crime

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez is moving to tighten government control over national media. Most recently, Chavez announced that the government might close as many as 240 radio stations – shifting airwave supremacy to Chavez’s own pro-administration “Community Radio.” “If we recover I don’t know how many stations, it won’t be to give them back to the bourgeoisie,” Chavez explained on Tuesday. “No, no. We have to create popular radio for the people.” Also among the proposed measures is a plan for a new “media law” – which would make publishing opinion, rather than fact a crime. “Threats to the media are nothing new, but they have become an avalanche,” says Rafael Chavero, a constitutional law professor in Caracas. Two years ago, Chavez refused to renew the license of RCTV – the country’s most popular TV network which broadcast commentary critical of Chavez’s policies.

Los Angeles Times