Saturday, May 26, 2007

Chavez orders mlitary control of RCTV

Venezuela’s top court yesteday ordered the Defence Ministry to take control of installations of an opposition television station amid a show of military force before the station’s controversial closure. President Hugo Chávez’s decision to close the RCTV television channel, which he accuses of backing a 2002 coup against him, has prompted international condemnation and several demonstrations.
Venezuela’s Supreme Court ordered the military to “guard, control and monitor” some of the station’s installations and equipment including transmission equipment and antennas throughout the country. An RCTV source, speaking on condition of anonymity, said staff at the station believed troops would take over the station’s Caracas headquarters.
The court determined that the government must take RCTV’s broadcast equipment to ensure a smooth handover to a state channel that will replace RCTV with broadcasts promoting the values of Chavez’s socialist revolution. A Defence Ministry official said he had not seen the court decision. An RCTV lawyer declined to comment on the issue.
The government has repeatedly warned that opposition demonstrators are preparing a “destabilization campaign” to spark street violence as RCTV loses its licence. “Minority groups cannot go against the will of the majority of the Venezuelan people to create uncertainty in the case of RCTV’s licence,” Defence Minister Raul Baduel told state news agency ABN.
(Source: Reuters/R Netherlands Media Network Weblog)

(Gayle Van Horn)