Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Television Government Media The Internet Politics

Venezuela's Contrarian TV Station Survives on YouTube 457

Posted by Zonk
from the politics-plus-interweb dept.
carlos_J writes "Ars Technica is running a story about RCTV, a Venezuelan television station whose broadcast license was refused renewal by the government. In response, the station turned to YouTube to get its message out. Says Ars, 'El Observador clips have been seen 175,000 times since May 28, and the channel is currently the most-subscribed channel of the week. While putting the station's shows on YouTube is an excellent idea, YouTube still lacks anything near the reach of over-the-air broadcasts. But the use of the site to avoid censorship is growing, and it's not hard to imagine a day in the near future when the site (or sites like it) becomes as essential as local TV stations. As that happens, YouTube will come into even more conflicts with governments that have an interest in controlling what their citizens see, It's already happening--Thailand's king, for instance, has a thing for iPods but isn't too keen on YouTube. Will Hugo Chavez show more tolerance? '"
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Venezuela's Contrarian TV Station Survives on YouTube

Comments Filter:
  • by AltGrendel (175092) <ag-slashdot@@@exit0...us> on Friday June 01, 2007 @03:44PM (#19356467) Homepage
    Will Hugo Chavez show more tolerance?

    Magic 8-ball says: "Not likely".

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Kadin2048 (468275) *
      How long before Venezuela blocks YouTube?
      • Given recent decisions by numerous web content providers I would think YouTube will be blocking the rogue broadcasters after short blackout of the site by the offended country.

        The minute YouTube began actively filtering submissions (in other situations) they opened themselves to accountability for all submissions.

        I have to think that user tagging/moderation would have been a better way to go... That type of system is actually the main reason I prefer this news site over most others. It allows the website t
  • This just screams Transmetropolitan. The Hole was YouTube crossed with Freenet.
    • But see what Freenet didn't get was that you have to become widely popular first, then you can become a tool for the revolution. Otherwise your just a tool. :)
  • uh... he'd be the guy who shut down the live television channel

    (puts on thinking cap)

    hmmm...
    • by notque (636838) on Friday June 01, 2007 @03:58PM (#19356671) Homepage Journal
      he'd be the guy who shut down the live television channel

      You mean, didn't renew the license of the station that assisted in the coup of April 2002.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by sumdumass (711423)
        Interesting, First is was for showing him in a bad light. Now it is for participating in a Coup.

        I seriously wonder why they people who run that station hasn't been arrested. I mean overthrowing your government is a crime after all. Ahhh, maybe they didn't participate but rather aired stuff that wasn't favorable to the almighty himself. Well, then we are back to the he didn't renew it because they criticized him.

        I find it extremely ironic that the person who called Bush evil is now Evil and is being proteste
        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by notque (636838)
          Interesting, First is was for showing him in a bad light. Now it is for participating in a Coup.

          The opposition came onto RCTV and thanked them for all their help. Marcel Granier told the station not to air anything positive to Chavez that day. They lied about how he resigned, which was the justification used by the military to support the coup.

          People quit over these decisions.

          I seriously wonder why they people who run that station hasn't been arrested.

          Chavez would have had to arrest all of the Private stati
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by xlyz (695304)

          why don't you check yourself what really happened?

          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8gRUrQCTtNI [youtube.com]
        • by Scrameustache (459504) on Friday June 01, 2007 @04:45PM (#19357387) Homepage Journal

          Interesting, First is was for showing him in a bad light. Now it is for participating in a Coup.
          I seriously wonder why they people who run that station hasn't been arrested. I mean overthrowing your government is a crime after all. Ahhh, maybe they didn't participate but rather aired stuff that wasn't favorable to the almighty himself. Well, then we are back to the he didn't renew it because they criticized him.
          How, exactly, do you think that the mass media are used to participate in a coup [wikipedia.org]? The cameramen bash the president's troop with their cameras?
          Or maybe, maybe a media's involvement in a coup is through propaganda? Maybe?

          I find it extremely ironic that the person who called Bush evil is now Evil
          It is not ironic at all that you fell for the propaganda. The united state's media always cast him in a bad light. Low and behold, you think he's a bad man.
          • by notque (636838) on Friday June 01, 2007 @04:49PM (#19357465) Homepage Journal
            Very true,

            RCTV's most infamous effort to topple Chavez came during the April 11, 2002, coup attempt against him. For two days before the putsch, RCTV preempted regular programming and ran wall-to-wall coverage of a general strike aimed at ousting Chavez. A stream of commentators spewed nonstop vitriolic attacks against him -- while permitting no response from the government.

            Then RCTV ran nonstop ads encouraging people to attend a march on April 11 aimed at toppling Chavez and broadcast blanket coverage of the event. When the march ended in violence, RCTV and Globovision ran manipulated video blaming Chavez supporters for scores of deaths and injuries.

            After military rebels overthrew Chavez and he disappeared from public view for two days, RCTV's biased coverage edged fully into sedition. Thousands of Chavez supporters took to the streets to demand his return, but none of that appeared on RCTV or other television stations. RCTV News Director Andres Izarra later testified at National Assembly hearings on the coup attempt that he received an order from superiors at the station: "Zero pro-Chavez, nothing related to Chavez or his supporters.... The idea was to create a climate of transition and to start to promote the dawn of a new country." While the streets of Caracas burned with rage, RCTV ran cartoons, soap operas and old movies such as "Pretty Woman." On April 13, 2002, Granier and other media moguls met in the Miraflores palace to pledge support to the country's coup-installed dictator, Pedro Carmona, who had eliminated the Supreme Court, the National Assembly and the Constitution.

            Would a network that aided and abetted a coup against the government be allowed to operate in the United States? The U.S. government probably would have shut down RCTV within five minutes after a failed coup attempt -- and thrown its owners in jail. Chavez's government allowed it to continue operating for five years, and then declined to renew its 20-year license to use the public airwaves. It can still broadcast on cable or via satellite dish.


            From http://www.venezuelanalysis.com/articles.php?artno =2054 [venezuelanalysis.com] although there are many voices of this, including watching the actual broadcasts which you can do on... Youtube!
        • Only failed overthrows are criminal. Successful overthrows are perfectly legal (since you now define legal)
      • he'd be the guy who shut down the live television channel

        You mean, didn't renew the license of the station that assisted in the coup of April 2002.

        And how long before he "doesn't renew" YouTube's license?
        • by notque (636838)
          And how long before he "doesn't renew" YouTube's license?

          He's not killing the station! They are moving to satellite! Why not speak about the facts rationally?

          There's an argument to be made about how this is wrong. The opposition should be enabled to speak, if not by RCTV, a private enterprise, but then by TVes. If they cannot communicate on TVes, then that is a real injustice.
      • by kiwimate (458274)
        Except, wasn't that the later reason? I thought the initial reason given was because they showed soap operas which were offensive to the public moral good.
      • by DrWho520 (655973)

        he'd be the guy who shut down the live television channel

        You mean, didn't renew the license of the station that assisted in the coup of April 2002.
        (Score:4, Informative)

        You got the rating, now where is the informative reference? Newspaper articles? Historical accounts? Can you please supply a link?

        I want to know, because should I be worried that he is trying to get his term limits removed [washingtonpost.com], that he can currently rule by decree [bbc.co.uk] or that he is not renewing the license (this is the sleazy way to shut something down) of an anti-Hugo [cnn.com] television station.

        Which of these is the red light? A television station that does not think Hugo is all sunshine and roses is no longer i

  • Thailand's king is very fond of youtube. It's his followers that are making problems. Truth be told, he did help a lot of people, and he didn't mind the youtube debacle at all.
    • Separating the man from the followers is, for all intents and purposes, impossible. From all I've heard, he is a really good guy and he doesn't mind a little fun poked at him. From what I've heard, it's his supported and other people who fight the youtube thing. From what I've heard, followers will fight something for the king so that he can later deny it and say that he supports it and thus get support from both sides. By letting his followers fight youtube, he fights youtube by virtue of the doubt.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by sumdumass (711423)
        The actions of others don't dictate actions you made. We don't arrest or kill people who say I wish so and so was dead to find out later that someone killed him for you.

        King or not, it is a free area of the world. You can't be free when the ruler stops you from your free speech. you cannot take anything that his supporters might do and automatically associate it to a person not participating in it. If so the far left wackos out there would make everyone guilty of some stupidity. It goes the same for the far
        • I agree with the principle of what you said, but I don't think it applies in this instance. There's a big difference between holding someone accountable for another person's speech and holding someone accountable for the legal actions of the countries leaders in their support when they hold the title of king. You're right that we don't hold politicians accountable for their supporters, but the king of Thailand's supporters are government officials who are passing laws.

          However, I also am not aware of the
    • Yes. As has been noted here on Slashdot in the past, the King of Thailand is actually a pretty nice guy. There have been more than a few people who have chimed in on here that the military general who holds the reign of power over there often punishes dissidents through laws which the King has often expressed little support for. That PR stint with the person accused of portraying the king next to feet seemed to be more of a warning to keep dissidents in line than anything else.
  • by $RANDOMLUSER (804576) on Friday June 01, 2007 @03:54PM (#19356601)
    I was always told that the revolution would not be televised.
  • by jollyreaper (513215) on Friday June 01, 2007 @03:55PM (#19356609)
    Yeah, you go to YouTube for the counter-revolution but three hours later you're watching old music videos and wondering where the hell the time went.
  • by dominion (3153) on Friday June 01, 2007 @03:56PM (#19356647) Homepage

    And please don't think I'm defending Chavez himself in any ways, but let's remember that Thatcher refused to renew the license of Thames Television. True, their license was lost for capitalist reasons (not being profitable enough), and RCTV was removed for political reasons, but many would argue that those reasons are not really all that different.

    And let's be honest about this. In America in 2007, if CNN started taking an active role in the violent removal of Bush (who, while contraversial, was democratically elected), how long do you think the Bush administration would put up with that?

    Chavez is authoritarian, heavy-handed and a bit megalomaniacal. But sometimes all of us need to take a good look in the mirror about the state of democracy here before we get all high and mighty about defending democracy elsewhere.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by drinkypoo (153816)

      And let's be honest about this. In America in 2007, if CNN started taking an active role in the violent removal of Bush (who, while contraversial, was democratically elected), how long do you think the Bush administration would put up with that?

      The difference is that you are apparently welcome to wave your hand and dismiss the fact that this is government censorship. Honestly, what would your reaction be if it happened here in the USA? (Granted, things like this probably DO happen here, but are better disg

      • by notque (636838)
        The difference is that you are apparently welcome to wave your hand and dismiss the fact that this is government censorship.

        The difference is that you are apparently welcome to wave your hand at television stations assisting in the coup of a democratically elected leader.

        Actually, we need to get high and mighty about defending democracy EVERYWHERE. It's not a sometimes kind of thing. Either you have convictions, or you don't.

        The conviction that should be defended is freedom of speech here, and it is true th
        • by drinkypoo (153816)

          hopefully TVes the new station will allow the opposition a lot of time to discuss their opinions and views, but not inciting violence against a Democratically elected regime.

          that's assuming that they were legitimately democratically elected, unlike say our president for two elections running.

        • by Qzukk (229616)
          The difference is that you are apparently welcome to wave your hand at television stations assisting in the coup of a democratically elected leader.

          It's only illegal if they fail.
      • by dominion (3153)
        The difference is that you are apparently welcome to wave your hand and dismiss the fact that this is government censorship. Honestly, what would your reaction be if it happened here in the USA?

        More importantly, what would a Venezuelan's reaction be? Because I live in the US, of course I would be upset. My point is merely that people very often get very self-righteous about condemning the actions of other countries, while suspiciously ignoring many of the egregious encroachments on freedom that occur in t
    • by moderatorrater (1095745) on Friday June 01, 2007 @04:06PM (#19356795)
      The Bush Administration wouldn't get away with shutting down CNN. The best they could do is stop cooperating and making life hard for CNN, but not shut it down because we here in America still love our freedom. I live in the state with the highest approval rate for Bush, and even here I haven't met anyone who thinks that his wiretapping moves are good, just that they're bearable and he's done more good overall. If one of our leaders touched the press, maybe people in Utah wouldn't support his removal, but he would surely be impeached as fast as you could make a cool name ending in "gate".

      p.s. (this isn't flamebait, I'm describing others opinions, not my own, and I'm certainly not trying to offend or pick a fight).
      • by dominion (3153)
        The Bush Administration wouldn't get away with shutting down CNN. The best they could do is stop cooperating and making life hard for CNN

        If it were, say, NBC, the FCC could easily revoke it's license.

        but not shut it down because we here in America still love our freedom.

        This may be still true, but each year it seems less so.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by morari (1080535)

        [...]we here in America still love our freedom.
        Hehehe. You don't get out much, do you?
      • by antv (1425) on Friday June 01, 2007 @04:22PM (#19357047)
        The Bush Administration wouldn't get away with shutting down CNN. The best they could do is stop cooperating and making life hard for CNN, but not shut it down because we here in America still love our freedom.


        Well, CNN nad NBC are bad examples. During 2002 military coup RCTV reported that Chavez "denounced" his presidency when in fact he didn't. Imagine that a rogue military group took over White House and CNN claimed that president resigned when in fact he didn't. That's pretty much what happened in Venezuela.

        Would FCC renew a broadcasting license for a station that did something like that ? None of our TV stations would try anything like that in the first place, but if one of them tried I'm pretty sure it will be considered treason.

        • by sumdumass (711423) on Friday June 01, 2007 @04:39PM (#19357287) Journal

          Imagine that a rogue military group took over White House and CNN claimed that president resigned when in fact he didn't. That's pretty much what happened in Venezuela.
          You mean like calling the winner in a tight race when all the polls in a state aren't even closed yet? then having to correct it which led to a long drawn out situation that to this date, die hard believers still won't accept the true winner?

          what you described has already happened. and no one lost their broadcast license. Even with the evil Republican winning in the end. OR maybe you are more concerned about someone like a democrat would do something like this. They have been palling around with Chaves recently.

          Would FCC renew a broadcasting license for a station that did something like that ? None of our TV stations would try anything like that in the first place, but if one of them tried I'm pretty sure it will be considered treason.
          We have troups, spys and military operations were people are getting killed and run a higher risk of getting killed because the news keeps telling the enemy about the secrete operations we are conducting against them. When you have brave men and women losing their lives because of the information some news station decided was newsworthy enough to tell the enemy about, and they still have their license, I seriously don't think anything will invoke treason charges on the station.

          In america, Right or wrong, we reguard the news as the ultimate political speech and it is the most protected speech out there. If the news said Bush quit to save his own life and later retracted it, nothing would have happened to them outside their creditability being shot. Seriously, the news can fuck up an entire election and not get retaliated against. What makes you think anything else would be treated differently?
      • by hswerdfe (569925)
        I agree the press in america major can't be shut down.
        But that is not because of freedom or democracy or any other such nonsense you are misguided enough to believe. It is because of money, you live in a plutocracy and the press has a lot of money. Plus when it really matters the major press will self sensor under presure from politcians or under presure from corperations.
        The American dream One Dollar One Vote!
    • I don't really think many are surprised that the TV station was shutdown and people generally understand that the same thing would happen in just about any other country if that station was supporting violent revolution (I don't know if they were mind you..)

      What we all think is cool is that they are now up on YouTube. If CNN got shutdown for encouraging violent revolution I would think it was AWESOME if they found their way onto the internet even if I didn't personally support their viewpoint. (Disclaimer
      • by hswerdfe (569925)

        I don't really think many are surprised that the TV station was shutdown and people generally understand that the same thing would happen in just about any other country if that station was supporting violent revolution (I don't know if they were mind you..)

        That's the real problem, I don't know either. Everything I see on the subject is either Western Big business bullshit which is 1 step from claiming Chavez is a violent oppressive dictator. Or state (Venezuelan) run media that portrays him as almost a Christ figure. It utterly infuriating! After all there are 3 sides to every story, and I am really have only ever heard two of them and have not been able to piece together the all important truth yet.

    • by sumdumass (711423)
      In america, there are already laws about violently overthrowing the government. I am going to assume there are some in Venezuela too. Anyone including a TV station should be covered under those laws. So if CNN were to do something, then they would be rightfully hit by the application of those laws.

      Now what I don't understand is, Why chaves didn't prosecute the people who were activly working against him in a violent revolution or whatever. Actually I think it was some peaceful coup or something. So if they
    • by MrSteveSD (801820)
      The international media is currently outraged about the shutdown, but if they were paying any attention to Venezuela at all they would be outraged on a daily basis at what the private media there is saying and doing.

      I always find it fascinating how weak non-US allies are subjected to such enormous media scrutiny. If you are a US ally you can get away with boiling people alive on a daily basis and the media are not at all interested. Yet if Chavez sneezes it will hit the front pages. If we somehow swapped
  • by Scrameustache (459504) on Friday June 01, 2007 @04:00PM (#19356723) Homepage Journal
    It's good that youTube is there to provide an outlet to anyone who has a video they'd like the world to see, and I'm sure the fans of that channel's shows will be happy to see them there. But considering that the station supported a coup to overthrow the democratically elected president of their nation, I can't blame him for taking their antennas away.
    • The Venezuelan coup attempt of 2002 [wikipedia.org] was a failed military coup d'état on April 11, 2002. It saw the brief overthrow and arrest of leftist Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez, the dissolution of the democratically elected National Assembly, the dissolution of the Supreme Court, and the repeal of the country's constitution.

      Rightist businessman and Venezuelan Federation of Chambers of Commerce (Fedecámaras) president Pedro Carmona was subsequently installed as interim president for 47 hours. In Car
  • by sam_handelman (519767) <{ude.aibmuloc} {ta} {3002hks}> on Friday June 01, 2007 @04:04PM (#19356771) Homepage Journal
    Okay, I think that refusing to renew the license of this broadcaster was a bad move. BUT, under the legal theory that controls this sort of thing, it's pretty much a no-brainer.

      Those broadcast licenses are *supposed* to be held in the public interest. This TV station supported a military coup against the democratically elected government.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2002_Attempted_coup_i n_Venezuela#Events_leading_up_to_the_coup [wikipedia.org]

      That's a pretty unambiguous abuse of the public trust. Can you imagine what would happen to NBC's affiliate broadcast licenses if they supported a military coup against our government? If they weren't tried for treason and shot, they certainly wouldn't be allowed to keep broadcasting.

      Which brings us to the subject of restraint - actually, Chavez has shown a remarkable degree of restraint so far against those who tried to overthrow him militarily. They haven't even filed charges against the military officers - the man that the coup tried to install as President was Chavez' opponent in following last Venezuelan election.

      I seriously doubt that he's going to try and block Youtube.
  • by alexwcovington (855979) on Friday June 01, 2007 @04:05PM (#19356787) Journal
    While the suppression of dissent is always dishonourable, the fact remains that RCTV actively supported the coup against Chavez a few years back. FAIR has some details [fair.org]. Now I'm no expert, but I'd imagine that if, some TV network in the United States tried to incite the masses to revolt against George W. Bush, and the revolt was put down, the broadcast licences for that network would be cancelled. At least Chavez isn't doing what the Russians have been doing lately.... "not" killing reporters. While I still have deep concerns over issues of freedom of speech and the press in Venezuela, I still applaud Mr. Chavez in taking strides to combat poverty in his own country, and in the United States through his heating oil donations.
    • by rrkap (634128)

      Now I'm no expert, but I'd imagine that if, some TV network in the United States tried to incite the masses to revolt against George W. Bush, and the revolt was put down, the broadcast licences for that network would be cancelled.

      I don't know. Given that radio stations like KPFA in the San Francisco area, which has, from time to time tried to incite revolt against the government, have no trouble keeping their licenses (and, in fact, continue to suck money from the government teat) I don't think that th

  • by evanbd (210358) on Friday June 01, 2007 @04:06PM (#19356805)
    Rather, it will be posted on YouTube.
  • I'd imagine that YouTube will take an increasing role in self-censoring to adhere to local government regulations. Already, YouTube complies with U.S. DMCA take-down requests, so why wouldn't they comply with a Venezuelan government requests to filter the content according to Venezuelan laws?

    YouTube's ownership by Google makes it more vulnerable to coercion by governments that can threaten to turn-off Google unless YouTube complies with local content regulations.
  • Twisted logic (Score:3, Informative)

    by SirBruce (679714) on Friday June 01, 2007 @04:16PM (#19356959) Homepage
    I love all the liberals who are now trying to defend their anti-Capitalist hero Chavez on this point by claiming that since the news station was involved in trying to oust Chavez before, Chavez is justified. But they only think that because they think Chavez is a priori a good leader. If it was a tv station that was trying to oust a leader they didn't like -- say, impleach Bush -- they'd be all for it and declare any pull of the license as retaliatory and censorship. Come on, people, stand up for your principles for a change!
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by antv (1425)
      If it was a tv station that was trying to oust a leader they didn't like -- say, impleach Bush -- they'd be all for it and declare any pull of the license as retaliatory and censorship.

      You don't understand the situation. RCTV didn't just call for Chavez to stand down - during the military coup it reported that Chavez decided to stand down when he in fact didn't.
      Imagine that there was an armed group of people dragging Bush out of White House and TV stations claiming that Bush agreed to leave willingly - is

      • by mobby_6kl (668092)
        > Imagine that there was an armed group of people dragging Bush out of White House and TV stations claiming that Bush agreed to leave willingly - is that okay with you ?

        Hell yeah, that would've been awesome!
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by boot1780 (807085)
      There is no democracy in the world that would allow a television station that participated in an illegal coup of a democratically elected leader to be on the air. It was amazing it wasn't stricken of its license immediately -- it was allowed to run until the end of its current license. You think if ABC tried to participate in an illegal coup of President Bush today -- someone who's far less popular in the US than Chavez is in Venezuela -- that they would still be allowed to operate? Are you serious?
  • Let's face it. People who don't care about being filled with propaganda won't watch your "free" news anyway. They prefer flashy news, shocking news, anything that's entertaining and thrilling, but they rarely care about the content. You won't even reach them if you could broadcast it through standard means.

    People who do care about "hearing the other side" will try to hear it, no matter what. And all you got to do is point them at the YouTube link for your news broadcast, and they will watch it.
  • Let's play pretend (Score:3, Insightful)

    by guspasho (941623) on Friday June 01, 2007 @04:19PM (#19356995)
    Let's pretend the government owns the airwaves as a public resource and licenses its use, ie the license to use the airwaves is granted by the government, not anyone's God-given right. Let's pretend a TV station who holds a government license for use of public airwaves sponsored a coup against a democratically-elected government. Let's pretend that coup attempt failed. Wouldn't the rule of law require that the people who attempted to overthrow the government be held accountable? Wouldn't a reasonable repercussion be that the TV station involved in the coup have its license revoked for its attempted overthrow of the government? Wouldn't it even seem especially charitible of the government to refrain from taking special action and simply refuse to renew the license when it came up for renewal?

    Because that's exactly what happened here.

    I have no sympathy for this station. Freedom of speech, my ass.
  • Tyrants almost always disguise their lust for power as sympathy for the persecuted and downtrodden. Castro did it in the 50's; Chavez is doing the same thing now.

    I hope our youth are paying attention to what's happening in Venezuela right now, because I think the next 20 years will be an invaluable lesson in how a dictator-to-be dupes a populace with promises of govenrment-provided prosperity and national unity. In other words, he's going to steal from the minority rich to buy the support of the majority
    • except that (Score:3, Insightful)

      minorty rich is a tyranny all in itself

      in any society of wide income disparity, that is, a small pool of rich and a large pool of poor, there is always this essential story:

      1. minority rich angers poor with self-serving policies
      2. populist rides poor's discontent to revolutionary power
      3. populist enriches his cronies, ossifies, and creates a new minority rich class

      rinse and repeat forever

      this story has held true from the french revolution to chavez (well, since before the french revolution with various peas
  • Media Regulation (Score:3, Insightful)

    by MrSteveSD (801820) on Friday June 01, 2007 @04:23PM (#19357073)
    I know it all looks rather dictatoreque of Chavez to refuse to renew their licence, but if any western media channel behaved in the way they did, normal regulatory bodies would have shut them down long ago. Imagine the bias of Fox news multiplied by 100 and you begin to get the picture. During the coup attempt against the Chavez government in 2002 the news channels deliberately manipulated news footage to make it look like Chavez supporters were shooting people. What do you think would happen to a US TV Station if it did something like that and the whole Channel was behind it? I should imagine if the BBC had supported a foreign-backed coup against the democratically elected government of the UK, they would be shut down as well.

    What Venezuela needs is effective media monitors like Ofcom, perhaps with international observers. Also, the reason we keep hearing so much about Chavez is not because of his actions, it is because he is not a US ally. If he was a US ally and was doing these things, the media would be largely disinterested. That is important to realise. For example, much was made of his enabling act, yet the same kind of act was used by several previous Venezuelan presidents. The difference being that they were US allies and he isn't.
    • Beg your pardon? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by ChePibe (882378)
      but if any western media channel behaved in the way they did, normal regulatory bodies would have shut them down long ago. Imagine the bias of Fox news multiplied by 100 and you begin to get the picture.

      Forgive me, but what part of:

      Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

      do you n
  • Tomorrow's News Today, So You Have Time to Actually Use It!

    Venezuela blocks YouTube.

  • by williamyf (227051) on Friday June 01, 2007 @05:04PM (#19357671)
    "Mission Acomplished" (probably dressed as a paratrooper in a chinese aircraft carrier, a la Bush).

    RCTV was the channel with the most geographical reach (nearly 100% of the country). Here in Venezuela, the "regional TV station" is a very recent phenomenon. Most of the TV stations are repeaters of national chains, and being the oldest, RCTV had the most coverage.

    By replacion RCTV with a new station, Chavez acomplishes two goals, get out of the way a big nuance, and replacing that signal with on he can easily control (he is not controlling it yet, but now is quite easy).

    In a country were internet penetration is low, and Broadband even lower, and where internet is mostly used by people who already opose Chavez, loosing the free/broadcast opposing medium is quite a blow for disension (I will not YET claim is a loss in freedom of expression).

    Anyway, as I sit here (in Maracay http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maracay [wikipedia.org]) configuring my new laptop, I receive (Radio, MSN, SMS) reports of protests all over the country... But do not be fooled, these are not riots (thanks the lord), and Chavez already survived a general 3 month strike. Therefore, in about two weeks the protests will subside, the thing will be forgoten, and the same university students who are protesting now will be watching RCTV in YouTube using the campus broadband...

    Is a pitty...
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by lysse (516445)
      So the question appears to be - is advocating and/or supporting the forced overthrow of a democratically elected government a legitimate expression of dissent or not? If it is, then clearly Chavez is in the wrong - but then so is pretty much every democratically elected government which has a treason offence on the statute books. But if it isn't, then Chavez has not "stifled dissent" at all, but has instead shown remarkable tolerance - far more than some Western governments, it must be said.

      Moreover, I'm ha

C makes it easy for you to shoot yourself in the foot. C++ makes that harder, but when you do, it blows away your whole leg. -- Bjarne Stroustrup

Working...