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RSF and Free Speech in Venezuela

posted by dru Geography: Latin America Venezuela Topics: civil liberties

January 12, 2007

RSF and Free Speech in Venezuela

There has been some fuss about the Venezuelan government's plan to remove the license for the Radio Caracas Television (RCTV) network. Rabble.ca even linked to it.

The main problem seems to be that an organization that receive funding from the US State Department, the National Endowment for Democracy and the International Republican Institute (and then refuse to disclose the details) is calling it a crackdown on freedom of speech.

It's hard to see how it is any such thing. The bottom line is: either the airwaves belong to the people of Venezuela, or they do not. George Ciccariello-Maher makes the case.

But let's say that there was a coup d'etat in Canada, where some corporate bosses, backed by the military, removed Stephen Harper, suspended parliament and the charter, and declared themselves the rulers of the land. And then let's say that CTV backed them all the way, broadcasting propaganda against the existing parliament, and key CTV executives made public declarations supporting the coup.

Question is, if the coup was unsuccessful and 'democracy' was restored, would CTV then keep their license to broadcast? Would people complain that their "freedom of speech" was limited if they were no longer allowed to broadcast their signal over publicly owned airwaves?

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