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Venezuelan Radio Stations Silenced


Radio stations in Venezuela have begun to fall silent in the wake of government orders to some broadcasters to cease operations.

The Circuito Nacional Belfort Network, CNB, station in Caracas was among the first to stop broadcasting Saturday morning. At least four other CNB stations also went off the air.

On Friday, Venezuela's telecommunications agency said it would close 32 radio stations and two television stations for failing to meet legal requirements to stay on the air.

Media rights organizations have criticized the shutdown orders. The Committee to Protect Journalists said Saturday the Venezuelan government is using the regulation of broadcast licenses as a pretext to silence independent and critical voices.

The group says the action is part of a wider crackdown on private media which is jeopardizing Venezuelan democracy.

New laws in Venezuela have established a set of "media crimes" punishable with jail time.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.

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