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Vice-president submits bill preventing banks from owning shares in media

(IPYS-Venezuela/IFEX) - 12 August 2010 - On 11 August 2010, Elías Jaua, vice-president of Venezuela, submitted a proposal to the National Assembly, which would prevent the owners or directors of banks from owning media outlets or being shareholders in a media corporation. This proposal - made on behalf of President Chávez - is part of a project to reform the General Banking Law.

Jaua also proposed adding a new article to the law that would prohibit media companies from holding shares, participating in the management of, or acting as advisors to banks or other financial institutions.

Jaua made a direct reference to the case of the Federal Bank, which was recently taken over by the government and whose owner, Nelson Mezerhane, is a shareholder in the private TV station Globovisión. He said that Globovisión actively participated in a deceitful ad campaign that invited the public to make deposits in the Federal Bank, even when this institution was in a precarious situation.

Jaua also stated that Globovisión's journalists and presenters participated in this deception because, at the end of the day, they are employees and therefore susceptible to exploitation.

The National Assembly president, Cilia Flores, said that the vice-president's proposal would be discussed and approved during the legislative session on 12 August.

IPYS-Venezuela will closely monitor the decision taken by the National Assembly and hopes that it will be based on sound principles and not on political interests aimed at controlling the media.

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