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Television station taken off the air, radio programme cancelled allegedly on mayor's orders

(IPYS/IFEX) - On 12 May 2011, the Pedraza TV television station was taken off the air. Seven days later, the same thing happened to the "Contrapunto" programme broadcast by Fabulosa 107.7 FM radio station. According to those affected by the actions, both situations developed as a result of pressure exerted by Yusein Silva, the mayor of the municipality of Pedraza in the state of Barinas, western Venezuela.

The owner of Pedraza TV, Rafael Maitín, said the mayor, who is a member of the ruling party, issued an order for the station to be taken off the air in retaliation for Maitín's decision to cancel airtime purchases by Silva since the mayor owed the station more than 15 thousand US dollars.

On the other hand, journalist Damián González, the executive secretary of the opposition alliance Mesa de la Unidad Democrática and host of the "Contrapunto" radio programme as well as the Pedraza TV programme "Pedraza Dice", said that in his case the programmes were cancelled because of his news reports about alleged irregularities in the actions of the municipal government.

González accused the mayor of calling the Fabulosa FM radio station's owner, Evaristo Uzcátegui, to ask him to cancel his programme. Maitín mentioned a recording that has been made public in which the mayor states that "the future of the station depends on what is done about Damián".

Silva denied having ordered the cancellation of "Contrapunto", although he admitted that he had "recommended that the programming should be reviewed".

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