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

Republican Majority in Congress Off to Rough Start

Standoff over Homeland Security funding exposes philosophical, tactical problems within party More

Pakistan Blocks Baloch Activist from US Trip

Human Rights Commission of Pakistan slams Islamabad officials for stopping people from leaving country to attend human rights conference More

Video Muslims Long Thrived in North Carolina Before Students Killed

Idyll shattered February 10, when three Muslim university students living in Chapel Hill were gunned down by a neighbor 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.
Muslims Long Thrived in N Carolina Before Slaying of 3 Studentsi
X
Jerome Socolovsky
March 05, 2015 9:04 PM
The killings of three Muslim students in North Carolina early last month came as Muslims across the United States have felt under siege, partly as a result of terrorist attacks being committed internationally in the name of their faith. But Muslims have long thrived in university cities in this part of the American South. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Muslims Long Thrived in N Carolina Before Slaying of 3 Students

The killings of three Muslim students in North Carolina early last month came as Muslims across the United States have felt under siege, partly as a result of terrorist attacks being committed internationally in the name of their faith. But Muslims have long thrived in university cities in this part of the American South. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Fuel Shortages in Nigeria Threaten Election Campaigns

Nigeria is suffering a gas shortage as the falling oil price has affected the country’s ability to import and distribute refined fuels. Coming just weeks before scheduled March 28 elections, the shortage could have a big impact on the campaign, as Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA.
Video

Video Report: Human Rights in Annexed Crimea Deteriorating

A new report by Freedom House and the Atlantic Council of the United States says the human rights situation in Crimea has deteriorated since the peninsula was annexed by Russia in March of last year. The report says the new authorities in Crimea are discriminating against minorities, suppressing freedom of expression, and forcing residents to assume Russian citizenship or leave. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video 50 Years Later African-Americans See New Voting Rights Battles Ahead

Thousands of people will gather to mark the 50th anniversary of a historic civil rights march on March 7th in Selma, Alabama. In 1965, dozens of people were seriously injured during the event known as “Bloody Sunday,” after police attacked African-American demonstrators demanding voting rights. VOA’s Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights pioneers who are still fighting for voting rights in Alabama more than 50 years later.
Video

Video Craft Brewers Taking Hold in US Beer Market

Since the 1950’s, the U.S. beer industry has been dominated by a handful of huge breweries. But in recent years, the rapid rise of small craft breweries has changed the American market and, arguably, the way people drink beer. VOA’s Jeff Custer reports.
Video

Video Video Claims to Show Shia Forces in Iraq Executing Sunni Boy

A graphic mobile phone video is spreading on the Internet, claiming to show Iraqi forces or Shia militia executing a handcuffed Sunni boy. Experts have yet to verify the video, but already Islamic State followers are publicizing it across social media, playing on deep-rooted sectarian fears. VOA’s Jeff Seldin reports.
Video

Video Ukrainian Authorities Struggle to Secure a Divided Mariupol

Since last month's cease-fire went into effect, shelling around the port city of Mariupol has decreased, but it is thought pro-Russian separatists remain poised to attack. For the city’s authorities, a major challenge is gaining the trust of residents, while at the same time rooting out informants who are passing sensitive information to the rebels. Patrick Wells reports for VOA.
Video

Video Volunteer Gauge-Watchers Help Fine-Tune Weather Science

An observation system called CoCoRaHS is working to improve weather science, thanks to thousands of volunteers across the country who measure precipitation in their own backyards, then share their data through the Internet. VOA's Shelley Schlender reports.
Video

Video NASA Spacecraft Approaches a Dwarf Planet

NASA’s Dawn spacecraft will make history on Friday, March 6, when it becomes the first man-made object to orbit a dwarf planet named Ceres. It is located in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, almost 500 million kilometers from Earth. Among other objectives, Dawn will try to examine two mysterious bright white spots detected on the planet’s surface. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Muslims Radicalized Online

Young Muslims are being radicalized ‘in their bedrooms’ through direct contact with Islamic State or ISIL fighters via the Internet, according to terror experts. There are growing concerns that authorities and Internet providers are not doing enough to counter online extremism - which analysts say is spread by a prolific network of online supporters around the world. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Positive Messaging Transforms Ethiopia's Image

Ethiopia was once known for famine and droughts. Now, headlines more often point to its fast-growing economy and its emergence as a regional peacemaker. How has Addis Ababa changed the narrative? VOA's Marthe van der Wolf reports.
Video

Video Answers Elude Families of MH370 Passengers

For the families on board Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, an airline official’s statement nearly one year ago that the plane had lost contact with air traffic control at 2:40 AM is the only thing that remains confirmed. William Ide reports.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

More Americas News

ExxonMobil Set to Begin Drilling Off Guyana

Project could turn up the heat under a long-running territorial row with neighboring Venezuela
More

Peru Indigenous Groups Settle US Court Claims with Occidental

Achuar communities alleged Occidental spilled oil and dumped toxic waste while operating country's biggest oil block, triggering widespread health problems
More

Petrobras Scandal Threatens Brazil's Political, Business Elite

Executives reportedly feeling inclined to cut plea bargains that would result in less jail time in return for disclosing graft scheme details
More

Tests Indicate Argentine Prosecutor Was Slain, Ex-Wife Says

Alberto Nisman, found dead days after accusing president of involvement in cover-up, didn't commit suicide, Sandra Arroyo Salgado says
More

Canadian Pastor Detained in North Korea

Hyeon Soo Lim arrived in North Korea in late January, went to Pyongyang on a humanitarian mission and hasn't been heard from since
More

Colombia Generals Join Rebel Leaders for Peace Talks

Colombia's President Santos long resisted FARC calls for bilateral ceasefire, but since his re-election last year, he has injected urgency into negotiations
More