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Government minister announces he will use legal mechanisms to take away 50% of television station's licence

(IPYS/IFEX) - On 16 July 2009, Diosdado Cabello, the minister for public works and housing, who is also in charge of the National Telecommunications Commission (CONATEL), announced that the government will use legal mechanisms to recover "50% of the licence" of the private television station Globovisión. The minister made this announcement on the state-owned Venezolana de Televisión's "Despertó Venezuela" programme, and added that if it were up to him he would shut down Globovisión.

Cabello said that Globovisión's licence was granted to two people, one of whom is now deceased, and that the government can activate mechanisms to recover 50% of the licence since it "cannot be inherited".

Cabello described Globovisión as a "dirty warfare laboratory" and warned that if the station commits a crime the government will revoke its licence.

Globovisión's president, Guillermo Zuloaga, explained that the station's licence, which was initially granted to two individuals, Zuloaga and Luis Teófilo Núñez, was transferred to Corpomedios, the company that owns Globovisión, and that CONATEL was notified of and accepted the transfer after Núñez's death. Therefore, Corpomedios is the licence holder, and not Zuloaga or Núñez.

The telecommunications law states that holders of licences can be individual persons or legally-recognised entities, and does not indicate that a percentage of a licence can be taken away.

IPYS views the minister's statements as threats against the station.

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