Venezuelan authorities accuse opposition television station of "inciting hatred"

The National Telecommunications Commission (CONATEL in Spanish) of Venezuela has filed another complaint against opposition television station Globovisión for "inciting hatred" for covering a deadly prison riot in mid-June in the northern state of Miranda, according to the newspaper El Tiempo.

This is the seventh administrative proceeding against the station, reported the Press and Society Institute. However, it is the first based on the reporting of facts, and not individual opinions, like the previous cases.

According to Venezuelan laws, revised in December 2010, if the television station is found guilty, it can be taken off the air for 72 hours, or made to pay 10 percent of its gross income.

Globovisión, which maintains a tense relationship with the government of Hugo Chávez, has 10 days to prepare its defense.

In a press conference, CONATEL questioned the Globovisión reporters' interviews with relatives of the rioters, according to El Universal. CONATEL director Pedro Maldonado said the interviews with the mothers of the prisoners aired nearly 90 times between June 16 and 19, which leads to the assumption that "we are dealing with an editorial line that would violate the law of responsibility for radio and television because it is inciting unrest among the citizenry," he said.

In a statement, the station said that the "only editorial line of Globovisión in news coverage...is and always has been to guarantee the freedom of expression of citizens and the freedom of information," reported El Nacional.

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.