News / Americas

    Venezuelan Opposition TV Station Softens Tone

    Screens are seen at the master control room of TV station Globovision in Caracas, May 28, 2013.
    Screens are seen at the master control room of TV station Globovision in Caracas, May 28, 2013.
    Reuters
    A flagship Venezuelan TV channel known for its militant opposition to late socialist leader Hugo Chavez has toned down under new owners, depriving the opposition of a favored platform as it fights a new government.
     
    During Chavez's tumultuous 14-year rule, Globovision played a controversial and high-profile role: it was derided by officials as a pro-U.S., law-breaking broadcaster but feted in the opposition as a beacon of free speech.
     
    Its majority owner, businessman Guillermo Zuloaga, who lives in exile in the United States, sold the station this month. The new bosses have made immediate changes, including stopping live broadcasts of opposition leader Henrique Capriles.
     
    “I was told that the new directors gave an order not to show me live,” Capriles said on Twitter this week, arguing the buyers were stooges of recently elected President Nicolas Maduro's government.
     
    “My eternal gratitude to the Globovision workers for having provided a window to speak to our people,” added Capriles, who lost last month's presidential election to Maduro by 1.5 percentage points but is disputing the result.
     
    Globovision, now owned by three little-known businessmen who are also shareholders of a local insurance company, has denied accusations by some disgruntled workers at the broadcaster that it was kowtowing to the government.
     
    “The board of directors has not banned any official or political leader from Globovision,” Globovision said in a statement. “On the contrary, the editorial policy consists in broadening the line of information and opinion to all voices in the country, without any discrimination.”
     
    Still, various high-profile contributors, including opposition politician Ismael Garcia, who had a Sunday program, and anchor Francisco “Kico” Bautista, who became a household face of “anti-Chavismo,” are now gone.
     
    Though private TV stations were openly anti-Chavez at the start of his tenure, including during a brief 2002 coup against him, one broadcaster later lost its license and others became more moderate in their public programming.
     
    So Globovision had been an outlying, aggressive voice for the opposition on television. Its premises were attacked several times, and it faced a battery of legal charges and a multi-million-dollar fine over its coverage of jail violence.
     
    Opposition Turns to Twitter
     
    Strident opposition to Chavez, and now to his successor Maduro, has continued among a plethora of newspapers and radio stations. One paper, for example, recently ran a front page picture of Maduro mocked up as Hitler.
     
    On the other side, a huge array of state media defend the government and vilify Capriles as a fascist.
     
    Some government officials have been rubbing their hands in glee over developments at Globovision, which was a constant thorn in their side, though it did also provide a useful argument against criticism they were crushing free speech.
     
    “They sold because they ran out of money - they used the station as a political party,” scoffed Diosdado Cabello, the powerful vice president of the ruling Socialist Party.
     
    Anti-government activists, glued to Globovision for years, are quickly turning to other venues such as webcasts of Capriles events.
     
    Capriles also reaches a huge audience via Twitter: his 3.4 million following is the largest of any other Latin American politician, including heads of state. In fact, only the deceased Chavez beats him, with 4.2 million followers still.
     
    “While it is tempting to be frightened by Globovision's demise, it's possible that we may not need it in the end,” wrote pro-opposition blogger Juan Cristobal Nagel. “With the advent of social media, perhaps we're all better off without our Globovision addiction.”
     
    Throughout the Chavez years, most Venezuelan media were openly partisan and often caught up in controversy - and journalists have stayed in the news under Maduro.
     
    Influential state TV commentator Mario Silva, who for years acted as a pugnacious mouthpiece for “Chavismo,” had his nightly program pulled after the opposition released a recording purportedly showing him discussing corruption and conspiracy within state circles with a Cuban intelligence agent.
     
    Like Capriles, Maduro has also been complaining of censorship. The president accused private media of ignoring his public announcements of plans to fight crime, and also said U.S. network CNN's Spanish-language channel was backing coup plans.
     
    “It's a TV station at the service of destabilization, calling openly for a coup d'etat in Venezuela, distorting the political and social life of our fatherland,” he said this week in his latest dramatic accusations since taking office.

    You May Like

    Turkey, US Splits Deepen Over Support for Kurdish Militants

    Ankara summons American ambassador to protest remarks by State Department spokesman who said Washington does not consider Syria's Kurdish Democracy Union Party (PYD) a terrorist organization

    Obama Seeking $19 Billion for National Cybersecurity

    Move, touted as attempt to build broad, cohesive federal response to cyberthreats, calls for increase in cybersecurity spending across all government agencies

    Video Foreign Policy Weighs Heavy for Some US Voters

    VOA talks to protesters in Manchester, New Hampshire, who sound off on foreign policy issues such as the Guantanamo Bay prison, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the wars in Iraq, Syria and Yemen

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Valentine's Day Stinks for Lebanese Clownsi
    X
    February 09, 2016 8:04 PM
    This weekend, on Valentine's Day in Lebanon, love is not the only thing in the air. More than half a year after the country's trash crisis began, the stink of uncollected garbage remains on the streets. Step forward "Clown Me In," a group of clowns who use their skills for activism. Before the most romantic day of the year the clowns have released their unusual take on love in Lebanon -- in a bid to keep the pressure up and get the trash off the streets. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Valentine's Day Stinks for Lebanese Clowns

    This weekend, on Valentine's Day in Lebanon, love is not the only thing in the air. More than half a year after the country's trash crisis began, the stink of uncollected garbage remains on the streets. Step forward "Clown Me In," a group of clowns who use their skills for activism. Before the most romantic day of the year the clowns have released their unusual take on love in Lebanon -- in a bid to keep the pressure up and get the trash off the streets. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Rocky Year Ahead for Nigeria Amid Oil Price Crash

    The global fall in the price of oil has rattled the economies of many petroleum exporters, and Africa’s oil king Nigeria is no exception. As Chris Stein reports from Lagos, analysts are predicting a rough year ahead for the continent’s top producer of crude.
    Video

    Video Foreign Policy Weighs Heavy for Some US Voters

    VOA talks to protesters in Manchester, New Hampshire who sound off on foreign policy issues such as the Guantanamo Bay Prison, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Middle East Affairs and national security.
    Video

    Video 'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenya

    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video New Hampshire Voters Are Independent, Mindful of History

    Once every four years, the northeastern state of New Hampshire becomes the center of the U.S. political universe with its first-in-the-nation presidential primary. What's unusual about New Hampshire is how seriously the voters take their role and the responsibility of being among the first to weigh in on the candidates.
    Video

    Video Chocolate Lovers Get a Sweet History Lesson

    Observed in many countries around the world, Valentine’s Day is sometimes celebrated with chocolate festivals. But at a festival near Washington, the visitors experience a bit more than a sugar rush. They go on a sweet journey through history. VOA’s June Soh takes us to the festival.
    Video

    Video 'Smart' Bandages Could Heal Wounds More Quickly

    Simple bandages are usually seen as the first line of attack in healing small to moderate wounds and burns. But scientists say new synthetic materials with embedded microsensors could turn bandages into a much more valuable tool for emergency physicians. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Bhutanese Refugees in New Hampshire Closely Watching Primary Election

    They fled their country and lived in refugee camps in neighboring Nepal for decades before being resettled in the northeastern U.S. state of New Hampshire -- now the focus of the U.S. presidential contest. VOA correspondent Aru Pande spoke with members of the Bhutanese community, including new American citizens, about the campaign and the strong anti-immigrant rhetoric of some of the candidates.
    Video

    Video Researchers Use 3-D Printer to Produce Transplantable Body Parts

    Human organ transplants have become fairly common around the world in the past few decades. Researchers at various universities are coordinating their efforts to find solutions -- including teams at the University of Pennsylvania and Rice University in Houston that are experimenting with a 3-D printer -- to make blood vessels and other structures for implant. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, they are also using these artificial body parts to seek ways of defeating cancerous tumors.
    Video

    Video Helping the Blind 'See' Great Art

    There are 285 million blind and visually impaired people in the world who are unable to enjoy visual art at a museum. One New York photographer is trying to fix this situation by making tangible copies of the world’s masterpieces. VOA correspondent Victoria Kupchinetsky was there as visually impaired people got a feel for great art. Joy Wagner narrates her report.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.

    More Americas News

    Video Olympics Technology Center Getting Ready for 2016 Games

    This year, the whole system will be cloud-based, enabling millions of fans around the world instant access to relevant information about the competition

    Red Cross Scales Up Community Action to Combat Zika

    ICRCS is mobilizing its large volunteer force in affected communities to help them clear up trash and areas where mosquitoes can breed

    Haiti's Prime Minister Calls for Peace on 1st Day Without President

    Evans Paul urges Haitian protesters to end weeks of sometimes violent street marches and join a dialogue to create a transitional government

    Social Media Erupts in Support of Sikh Man Barred from Flight

    Waris Ahluwalia says he was barred from boarding a flight from Mexico City to New York because he refused to remove his turban

    Canada Ending Airstrikes in Iraq, Syria

    Canadian PM Trudeau said a campaign of airstrikes is useful for bringing short-term gains, but not for long-term stability

    Cuban Baseball Stars, the Gurriel Brothers, Abandon Team

    A record 150 baseball players defected last year; Gurriels deemed exceptional loss because of skill, fame and perceived loyalty