$2 million fine against Venezuelan TV station spurs demand for greater voice in telecommunications policy

On Dec. 11, the Venezuelan National Association of Journalists (CNP in Spanish) released a statement expressing concern over the $2 million fine the government levied against opposition television station Globovisión. The group presented the statement after the decision to deny 59 Globovisión reporters the opportunity to participate as interested parties in the fine's appeal, according to the website El Carabobeño.

According to the organization, the unprecedented penalty imposed by the National Telecommunications Commission's (Conatel in Spanish) Social Responsibility Council threatens freedom of expression and the jobs of 400 employees, including reporters, reported the newspaper La Nación. The fine was levied after the Council found the broadcaster's coverage of a prison riot sensationalist.

In the statement, CNP also requested a meeting with Conatel's directors, the voiding of the fine, and involvement from the journalistic association on the Council of Social Responsibility, reported Globovisión's website.

Globovisión has had a tumultuous relationship with Chávez's government, facing several legal attacks that could bankrupt the broadcaster. President Chávez frequently criticizes the television network and suggested that it change its editorial policy.