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

Photogallery Early Nigeria Results Show Buhari Leading; Tampering Concerns Mount

One local group monitoring polls is concerned politicians might use security agencies to 'fiddle with the election collation process' at state level More

UN: 7,300 Civilians Killed in Boko Haram Insurgency

A senior UN humanitarian official tells the United Nations Security Council 1,000 people have been killed this year More

Turkish President Warns Iran About Trying to Dominate Middle East

Warning comes amid growing concerns inside Turkey that it will be sucked into a sectarian conflict with its 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.
Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadistsi
X
Greg Flakus
March 30, 2015 6:48 PM
At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadists

At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video With Coalition Airstrikes, Iraq Entering 'Last Page' of IS Battle

American warplanes joined Iraq's battle against the so-called 'Islamic State' in northern Iraq late Wednesday, as Iraqi ground troops launched a massive assault on Tikrit. Analysts say the offensive could take the coalition a step further towards Mosul, the largest city held by Islamic State forces. Others say it could also deepen already-dangerous sectarian tensions in the region. VOA's Heather Murdock has more from Cairo.
Video

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Tourism is a multi-billion dollar industry in the Philippines. Close to five million foreign visitors traveled there last year, perhaps lured by the country’s tropical beaches. But Jason Strother reports from Manila that the country hopes to entice more travelers to stay indoors and spend money inside new casinos.
Video

Video Civilian Casualties Push Men to Join Rebels in Ukraine

The continued fighting in eastern Ukraine and the shelling of civilian neighborhoods seem to be pushing more men to join the separatist fighters. Many of the new recruits are residents of Ukraine made bitter by new grievances, as well as old. VOA's Patrick Wells reports.
Video

Video Islamic State Prisoners Talk of Curiosity, God, Regret

Islamic State fighter, a prisoner of Kurdish YPG forces, asked his family asking for forgiveness: "I destroyed myself and I destroyed them along with me." The Syrian youth was one of two detainees who spoke to VOA’s Kurdish Service about the path they chose; their names have been changed and identifying details obscured. VOA's Zana Omer reports.
Video

Video Germanwings Findings Raise Issue of Psychological Testing for Pilots

More is being discovered about the co-pilot in the crash of Germanwings Flight 9525 in the French Alps. Investigators say he was hiding a medical condition, raising questions about the mental qualifications of pilots. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.
Video

Video Hi-tech Motorbike Helmet's Goal: Improve Road Safety

In cities with heavily congested traffic, people can get around much faster on a motorcycle than in a car. But a rider who is not sure of his route may have to stop to look at the map or consult a GPS. A Russian start-up company is working to make navigation easier for motorcyclists. Designers at Moscow-based LiveMap are developing a smart helmet with a built-in navigation system, head-mounted display and voice recognition. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video DOJ: Illinois National Guard Soldier Tried to Join ISIS

U.S. federal law enforcement agents arrested two suburban Chicago men accused of trying to join ISIS overseas, while also plotting attacks in the United States. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports from the Midwest state of Illinois, one of those arrested is a soldier of the Illinois National Guard.
Video

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Traditional push-rim wheelchairs create a lot of stress for arm, shoulder and neck muscles and joints. A redesigned chair, based on readily available bicycle technology, radically increases mobility while reducing the physical effort. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.

VOA Blogs

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

US State Dept Official: Cuba Aims to Ramp Up Internet Access

Cuba, a few decades late to the Internet era, is committed to getting the web into 50 percent of its households by 2020, a senior official said on Monday
More

Video Gamma Ray Observatory to Open Soon in Mexico

World's largest gamma ray observatory will be situated high in Sierra Negra Mountain to discover secrets about black holes and supernovas
More

Drownings of Migrants Along Rio Grande Increase

Increased patrols are pushing immigrants, desperate to avoid detection, to choose more dangerous and remote crossings into South Texas, leading to surge in drownings
More

US, Cuba Teams Discuss Telecommunications Issues

US delegation visited Cuba this week as the two nations continued efforts to restore diplomatic relations broken over 50 years ago
More

Egyptian Court Adjourns Trial of Al Jazeera Journalists to April 22

Two journalists are charged with aiding a terrorist organization, a reference to the Muslim Brotherhood, which Egypt banned following 2013 army takeover
More

Rio Exhibition Dramatizes Olympian Bay Cleanup Task

Display highlights problem of trash in Guanabara Bay, where sailing, windsurfing events are to take place in next Summer Games
More