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Court rules against RCTV request to be allowed to return to broadcasting via open signal

(IPYS/IFEX) - On 29 July 2008, the Supreme Court of Justice's Political-Administrative Chamber (Sala Político Administrativo del Tribunal Supremo de Justicia, TSJ) dismissed an application for a precautionary measure submitted by lawyers, directors and journalists of Radio Caracas Televisión (RCTV) television station, in which they requested to be allowed to resume open signal broadcasting. The television station's open signal broadcasting was suspended on 27 May 2007 after the government failed to renew its license.

The appeal submitted by RCTV on 29 May requested that the TSJ order the Ministry of Telecommunications and Informatics to implement the necessary measures to allow the station to resume its open signal broadcasting.

When the government decided not to renew RCTV's licence it failed to give any reasons for its actions. RCTV is the oldest television station in the country and it has been critical of President Hugo Chávez's administration. It currently broadcasts its signal via cable operators.

This is not the first time that the TSJ has ruled in this way. On 25 May 2007, the TSJ's Constitutional Chamber ordered, by way of a precautionary measure, that RCTV's broadcasting equipment (microwaves, teleports, transmitters, television auxiliary equipment, energy and weather auxiliary equipment, towers, antennas, broadcasting booths, installation booths, perimeter fence and electrical connections) be handed over temporarily to the government-run National Telecommunications Commission (Comisión Nacional de Telecomunicaciones, CONATEL) in order to aid in broadcasting the Televisora Social Venezolana (TEVES) public television station's signal throughout the country. TEVES was created by the government to replace RCTV. To date, RCTV's equipment has not been returned.

On 26 July 2007, Venezuela's highest court's Political-Administrative Chamber ruled against another precautionary measure requested by RCTV in which it requested permission to resume its open signal broadcasting.

IPYS condemns the TSJ's ruling which goes against the principles of media plurality and the right of every citizen to be informed.

Updates the RCTV case: http://www.ifex.org/en/content/view/full/94101

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