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Regional officials use radio programmes to malign media

(IPYS/IFEX) - During the months of January and February 2010, Santa Obispo, municipal councilor of the ruling party, Venezuela's United Socialist Party (PSUV), conducted a media campaign to promote the expropriation of Cojedes newspapers "Las Noticias de Cojedes" and "La Opinión", as well as radio stations Radio San Carlos and Rumbera Network because they are, in her opinion, "capitalist, oligarchic, imperialist and liars". This was reported by Eligio Elorga, editor-in-chief of the newspaper "Las Noticias de Cojedes". This incident took place in the State of Cojedes, central Venezuela.

Obispo conducted the campaign through her radio program on Guarachera 96.1 FM and in interviews given to radio station Class 98.7 FM.

At the same time, on 30 January, Teodoro Bolívar, governor of Cojedes, used his radio program, "Teodoro con las comunidades", to threaten the owner of a radio station whose name he did not mention, although everything seems to point at Peter Taffin, president of Rumbera Network and also president of "Las Noticias de Cojedes"' editorial council, warning him not to make any references to the Cojedes state government. If he did, the station owner was warned, the political authority would order the expropriation of the plot of land where that media outlet operates.

The media outlets mentioned by the city councilor and the governor broadcast programs on local community issues and often denounce shortages in the area and the authorities' bad public management.

Because it is officials who occupy government offices that have made these declarations, IPYS considers these incidents an attack on freedom of expression of media outlets that do not share the ruling government's political ideas.

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