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Programme host fired from La Tele television station after participating in march supporting RCTV workers

(IPYS/IFEX) - On 4 May 2007, journalist Marietta Santana, host of the programme "Marietta Alerta" on La Tele television channel, reported that she had been fired for having participated in a 21 April march expressing support for the workers of Radio Caracas Televisión (RCTV).

Solidarity protests for RCTV have been organized since President Hugo Chávez announced, in December 2006, his decision to not renew the station's broadcasting license, which expires on 27 May (see IFEX alerts of 26, 25, 19, and 12 April, 12 and 2 January 2007, 29 and 21 December 2006).

Santana told IPYS that, after she participated in the march, a manager at her station told her that the station's owners were disgusted by her action. On 29 April, without prior notice, her programme was cancelled, even though the next instalments had already been taped. Santana had worked in La Tele since 2002.

In her dismissal letter, "programming modification" was given as the reason, even though this is not listed in her contract as a valid cause for dismissal. La Tele has taken a neutral stance towards the current government. Since the announcement regarding RCTV, media outlets in general have been more cautious in their reporting, so as to avoid possible punishment.

IPYS contacted La Tele representatives to obtain their version of events, but they have yet to return IPYS's calls.

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