Venezuelan NGO launches campaign against forced broadcast of presidential TV and radio messages

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  • August 16, 2012

By Isabela Fraga

The Venezuelan NGO Espacio Público launched on Tuesday, Aug. 14, a campaign for the end of President Hugo Chavez's forced TV and radio broadcasts, reported El Universal.

The campaign, launched on Espacio Público's website, consists of gathering signatures for a rejection letter against the "use of presidential broadcasts for the political campaign of the presidential elections of Oct. 7, 2012."

The letter also said that the 4,260 minutes of presidential Chavez's messages broadcast during July go against the principle of equal access to news media, since Chavez, who will run against Henrique Capriles for president, will be favored by his public official capacity, reported El Nacional.

In an interview with the news agency EFE, director of Espacio Público Carlos Correa said that the forced presidential messages violate freedom of expression because they "force news media to stop what they are saying and transmit an official message instead," and they also undermine the freedom of those who want to watch a certain program, reported the newspaper El Tiempo.

During mid-July, Espacio Público released a report calling the forced presidential message broadcasts a way of "continued censorship." The letter, published on the organization's website, is open to signatures that will be sent to the government the week of Aug. 20. As of the night of Wednesday, Aug. 15, 184 people had signed the document.

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.