By Dean Graber
On the recent third anniversary of the forced closure of Radio Caracas Television (RCTV), whose editorial line opposed President Hugo Chávez, the Human Rights Foundation (HRF) released a video of Marcel Granier, RCTV’s general manager, discussing attacks by the government against private media.
The shutdown of the privately owned station that had broadcast since 1957 was “a devastating turning point for freedom and democracy in Venezuela,” said Thor Halvorssen, president of HRF, a New York-based organization. “A comparable situation would be the U.S. government deciding to shut down major television networks such as ABC, CBS, or NBC.”
Shortly after RCTV was silenced in 2007, it began operating as a paid cable channel, but regulators ordered cable and satellite broadcasters last January to stop carrying RCTV’s signal, alleging that they violated an order to broadcast Chávez’s speeches. The courts repeatedly refused to restore RCTV’s TV frequencies.
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.