Freedom of Speech

During Chávez’s most recent term in office, 34 radio stations had to go off the air, as well as a major TV channel that was critical of the Chávez administration. A media law amended in 2010 gives the government greater regulatory power over media and sanctions journalists who transmit messages that “foment anxiety in the public.”

Opposition groups say the government is on a quest to silence critical voices such as RCTV, the TV channel that was denied a new broadcasting license in 2007 and pushed off cable TV in 2010 for not complying with laws that obliged the channel to broadcast government events.

The government argues that RCTV and other media outlets were not shut down because of their politics, but because they broke tax laws, communications laws, or acquired their broadcasting licenses through illegal means. It claims that its media laws protect children, and claims that it has democratized media ownership in that country by backing new community run media outlets.

Henrique Capriles recently said in a Facebook forum, that he would allow RCTV back on the air if he wins the election, claiming that power should be used “to open opportunities,” and not to “shut down doors.”

Chávez’s government proposal for the years 2013 to 2019, says that media outlets should be strengthened, so that they can serve as an educational instrument, that will facilitate the transition to socialism.