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

Unpaid Kurdish Fighters Sign of Economic Woes

Sharp cuts in Kurdistan's budget by Baghdad, falling oil revenue, coping with refugees, inflated public sector have hit regional economy hard More

Koreas Exchange List of Envoys for Family Reunion Talks

Officials will discuss date, venue and number of participants for reunion; Seoul hopes to hold event late this month More

China Targets 197 in Online Speech Crackdown

Nearly 200 punished for 'spreading rumors' online in ongoing crackdown on free speech More

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.
Calais School Offers Another Face of Europe’s Migrant Crisisi
X
Lisa Bryant
September 02, 2015 6:19 PM
Europe is facing mounting criticism over how it’s handling its biggest migration crisis since World War II. But not all Europeans believe building walls or passing repressive policies are the answer. A school for migrants in the French port city of Calais, is opening doors and building bonds across nationalities. VOA's Lisa Bryant reports.
Video

Video Calais School Offers Another Face of Europe’s Migrant Crisis

Europe is facing mounting criticism over how it’s handling its biggest migration crisis since World War II. But not all Europeans believe building walls or passing repressive policies are the answer. A school for migrants in the French port city of Calais, is opening doors and building bonds across nationalities. VOA's Lisa Bryant reports.
Video

Video Russia-Japan Relations Cool as Putin Visits China for WWII Anniversary

Russian President Vladimir Putin is in Beijing for commemorations of the 70th anniversary of China's WWII victory over Japan. Putin is expected to visit Japan later this year, but tensions between Tokyo and Moscow over islands disputed since the war, and sanctions over Ukraine, could pour cold water on the plan. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Kurdish Fighters on IS Frontline Ready for Offensive

Finger on the trigger, the Kurdish Peshmerga soldier stared across the dust at a village taken over by Islamic State extremists. The Kurdistan’s Khazir frontline, just 45 minutes from the Islamic State stronghold of Mosul. And at this point, the militants were less than two kilometers away. VOA's Sharon Behn reports.
Video

Video Yemen ‘on Brink of Disaster’ as Medical Shortages Soar

Aid agencies warn Yemen is on the brink of humanitarian disaster – with up to half a million children facing severe malnutrition, and hospitals running out of basic medicines. There are fears Yemen's civil war could escalate as the coalition led by Saudi Arabia tries to drive back Houthi rebels, who seized control of much of the country earlier this year. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Apps Helping Kenyan Businesses Stay Ahead of Counterfeiters

Counterfeit goods in Kenya cost the government as much as $1 billion each year in lost tax revenues. The fake goods also hurt entrepreneurs who find it hard to carve out a niche in the market and retain customers. But as Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi, information technology is being used to try to beat the problem.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.

VOA Blogs

More Americas News

Russia, Venezuela Seek to Combat Oil Price Woes

The price of oil has roughly halved since last year due to oversupply and a decision by the OPEC cartel not to cut production
More

Brazil Denies Rumors Finance Minister Will Quit

Government dismisses market rumors Joaquim Levy quitting because of disagreements over his austerity plan
More

Guatemalan President Resigns Over Corruption Scandal

Judge orders Otto Perez Molina to remain in detention while decision on whether he'll stand trial is pending
More

Video US Men's Soccer Team Eyeing Matches Against Peru, Brazil

Team hoping to bounce back from a disappointing result in Gold Cup, when Jamaica upset US 2-1 in semifinals
More

Guatemala Congress Opens Door for Prosecution of President

With 132 of 158 lawmakers approving a measure to strip immunity, prosecutors now can file criminal charges against Perez Molina just like any other citizen
More

Rio Olympics Official: Water Will Be Clean for Games

Recent report says waters so contaminated with bacteria and viruses from human sewage that athletes could become ill
More