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Three years after shutdown of RCTV, IAPA insists on its return

(IAPA/IFEX) - Miami, May 27, 2010 - The Inter American Press Association (IAPA) today called for the restoration of Venezuela's Radio Caracas Television (RCTV) broadcast network on the third anniversary of its forced shutdown in a "demonstration of political will" by the government of President Hugo Chávez, stating that during this period of electoral campaigns the public needs to access information from all sources as required in a democracy.

IAPA President Alejandro Aguirre, editor of the Miami, Florida, Spanish-language newspaper Diario Las Américas, declared, "What we viewed initially as a temporary measure, the shutdown of RCTV, has become a rule of this government - to eliminate opposing voices;" he added, however, that "we are always hopeful that as a sign of democratic political will and respect for press freedom the government of Hugo Chávez will restore RCTV's broadcast signal."

On May 27, 2007 the Venezuelan government took over RCTV transmission facilities and cancelled its broadcast license. Since then an accelerated process of censorship and elimination of critical news media has taken place together with the launch of official media outlets that are in line with pro-government editorial policies and propaganda.

Among other means of pressure, a total of 34 radio stations have ceased operating in Venezuela, financial sabotage is used against media that are critical of the government and 40 legal and administrative actions have been filed against Globovisión TV whose president, journalist Guillermo Zuloaga, is prohibited from leaving the country as the result of a lawsuit charging him with insulting the head of state.

The IAPA also reiterated its request for the government to allow an international delegation of the Organization of American States and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights to verify the state of free speech and press freedom in Venezuela.

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