Thursday, May 31, 2007

Tell Congress to Get the Facts Right About Venezuela

From the Venezuela Information Office:

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) released a statement today that criticized a recent decision by the Venezuelan government not to renew the broadcasting license of RCTV.

We strongly encourage you to email and call Speaker Pelosi to set the record straight. Please contact the following people:

Pelosi's Chief of Staff/Policy Adviser:
Pelosi's Media Staff:

Call Speaker Pelosi at 202-226-7616

When you call or email, feel free to use the following TALKING POINTS:

1. There is no "Suppression of Media in Venezuela," nor was there a "closure" of RCTV. Instead its license to broadcast on the public airwaves was not renewed.

2. The non-renewal of the license prevents RCTV from broadcasting on open access channels, but the station will still be allowed to broadcast in Venezuela through the internet as well as cable and satellite TV. Neither does it affect the possibility of RCTV producing material for domestic or international TV programming. Moreover, RCTV may continue to broadcast using their two radio stations.

3. The non-renewal is due to RCTV's failure to abide by legal norms established by the Venezuelan Constitution and the Law of Social Responsibility for Radio and Television. The law forbids public airwaves licensees from inciting political violence and civil unrest. RCTV's violations involve conspiracy to bring down the elected government of Venezuela during the violent coup of April 2002 as well as the active promotion of an economic sabotage later that year, which cost the country more than US$10 billion in losses. RCTV also has a long list of sanctions imposed by previous governments for reasons ranging from pornography, violations of laws prohibiting publicity of smoking and alcohol drinking to transmissions of false information.

4. The non-renewal of RCTV's broadcasting license is not an example of censorship, nor is it a strike against the private media in Venezuela. RCTV was part of a majority; 79 out of 81 TV stations and all 118 newspapers in the country are privately owned. Most are vehemently opposed to the democratically elected government of President Chavez. RCTV is unique only in its editorial excesses and its history of violating legal norms.

5. RCTV's large share of the open-access airwaves was assigned, upon expiration, to a public broadcaster that is dedicated to presenting programming that features independent operators and producers.


Do your best to personalize your email, and make sure to send it to your Congressional Representatives, as well. To find out who your Representatives are, please go to:

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