Venezuela says private interests still dominate the media

The Venezuelan government said the private sector continues to control media in the country, El Universal reports, in spite of its efforts to restrict print, broadcast, and digital content.

The minister of communication, Andrés Izarra, presented a report from the national telecommunications agency (Conatel) to the National Assembly, highlighting the overall growth both in total broadcast frequencies and level of ownership by the private sector. According to Izarra, TV frequencies have increased from 40 in 1998 to 111 in 2011, with the private sector owning 61, the government 13, and 37 considered community stations.

According to El Nacional, Izarra says there are 800 private radio stations in the country versus only 10 public, and “there are new private operators that used to not have a voice,” including community media.

The minister’s statements come at a time when journalism groups in the country are uniting against government media restrictions, in the midst of increasing hostility towards independent media from President Hugo Chávez.

Note from the editor: This story was originally published by the Knight Center’s blog Journalism in the Americas, the predecessor of LatAm Journalism Review.