By Ingrid Bachmann
At least a fifth of Globovisión - a channel that is critical of President Hugo Chávez’s administration - is now the hands of the government after Venezuela took over a financial company with a significant stake in the network, Bloomberg reports.
A state banking institution took administrative control of the Sindicato Ávila company in June of this year after leveling fraud charges against its owner, Nelson Mezerhane, EFE explains. Both Mezerhane and Globovisión’s majority shareholder, Guillermo Zuloaga, have fled to the United States and are considered fugitives of Venezuelan justice.
Chávez claims that the government can now appoint new Globovisión board members, but the Agencia Venezolana de Noticias reports that authorities don’t have enough control to do so, and laws favor the company's two largest shareholders: Zuloaga and Alberto Federico Ravell.
Globovisión has a tense relationship with the government and has faced multiple legal attacks that could lead to the station’s eventual closure. Chávez frequently speaks out against the channel and has warned it to change its editorial line.
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.