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REGIONS:

RCTVI agrees to carry president's speeches, allowed back on air

(RSF/IFEX) - In order to be allowed to resume broadcasting, cable television station RCTV-Internacional (RCTVI) has finally agreed to register as a "producer of national broadcast content," which means it will have to comply with the requirement to carry the president's long speeches when they are transmitted by national networks, known as "cadenas."

The choice had been clear for RCTVI ever since it was suspended by the authorities on 24 January 2010 - either it agreed to broadcast the "cadenas" or it would not be seen on Venezuelan televisions screens again.

The station's management has nonetheless announced its intention to create another international TV station to be called RCTV Mundo. Although it clearly aims to be a producer of international broadcast content, it remains to be seen whether it will be able to obtain a licence without having to agree to broadcast the "cadenas."

Aside from the targeting of RCTVI, Reporters Without Borders thinks the underlying problem is the government's insistence on broadcasting the president's speeches live on all the national terrestrial and cable TV stations at the same time, when one would suffice. What is the point, unless it is to monopolise the airwaves?

As well as the "cadenas" and his Sunday TV programme "Aló Presidente," President Hugo Chávez launched a new radio programme on 18 February called "De repente. . .Con Chávez" (Suddenly. . .With Chávez). It does not have a fixed time or duration. "When you hear the sound of a harp, you will know it is Chávez," the president said during the first programme.

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