RCTV is off the public airwaves (ding, dong!), but don’t cry for it…there is nothing on it worth saving, if Stephen Lendman’s latest excellent report on Venezuelanalysis is any indication:
Along with the other four major corporate-owned dominant television channels (controlling 90% of the nation’s TV market), RCTV played a leading role instigating and supporting the aborted April, 2002 two-day coup against President Chavez mass public opposition on the streets helped overturn restoring Chavez to office and likely saving his life. Later in the year, these stations conspired again as active participants in the economically devastating 2002-03 main trade union confederation (CTV) – chamber of commerce (Fedecameras) lockout and industry-wide oil strike including willful sabotage against state oil company PDVSA costing it an estimated $14 billion in lost revenue and damage.
This writer explained the dominant corporate media’s active role in these events in an extended January, 2007 article titled “Venezuela’s RCTV Acts of Sedition.” It presented conclusive evidence RCTV and the other four corporate-run TV stations violated Venezuela’s Law of Social Responsibility for Radio and Television (LSR). That law guarantees freedom of expression without censorship but prohibits, as it should, transmission of messages illegally promoting, apologizing for, or inciting disobedience to the law that includes enlisting public support for the overthrow of a democratically elected president and his government.
In spite of their lawlessness, the Chavez government treated all five broadcasters gently opting not to prosecute them, but merely refusing to renew one of RCTV’s operating licenses (its VHF one) when it expired May 27 (its cable and satellite operations are unaffected) – a mere slap on the wrist for a media enterprise’s active role in trying to overthrow the democratically elected Venezuelan president and his government. The article explained if an individual or organization of any kind incited public hostility, violence and anti-government rebellion under Section 2384 of the US code, Title 18, they would be subject to fine and/or imprisonment for up to 20 years for the crime of sedition.
They might also be subject to prosecution for treason under Article 3, Section 3 of the US Constitution stating: “Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort” such as instigating an insurrection or rebellion and/or sabotage to a national defense utility that could include state oil company PDVSA’s facilities vital to the operation and economic viability of the country and welfare of its people. It would be for US courts to decide if conspiring to overthrow a democratically government conformed to this definition, but it’s hard imagining it would not at least convict offenders of sedition.
Any further questions as to why that channel is really being barred from the public airwaves, O lazy, antagonistic mainstream media? You keep acting as though it were simply a matter of Chavez not brooking any opposition. Actually, he’s brooked more than any head of state should have to stomach, and certainly more than a US president would ever have to. The law of the land is clear, and it dates to long before Chavez even contemplated a run for office.
Moreover, Venezuela is far from being the first country to revoke a broadcast licence for non-compliance, or to refuse to renew one when it expired. In Canada, for example, the CRTC has the authority to do exactly what the government of Venezuela has done–and it has exercised just that authority, with NO cries of censorship from the international community! The only complainers were a few silly logic-twisters like George Jonas, who have a strange notion of what free speech is, and really just hate to see their piddly widdle political-incorrectness party pooped. But then again, since when has the US State Dept. financed our nutters up here–and who listens to them in the event that it does?
Back to Venezuela: Charlie Hardy, the Cowboy in Caracas, points out that Marcel Granier, the owner of RCTV, may be whining about censorship now, but he had no problem complying in the past–even at the request of a truly rotten government that, as luck would have it, also pre-dated Chavez:
As I write this, I am looking at a Venezuelan newspaper, El Diario, from February 10, 1992. The editorial that would have occupied half of page 2 is missing. Page 4 is completely blank. The contents were censored by the government of the then president Carlos Andres Perez.
However, today, May 27, the Venezuelan government will not renew the license of RCTV, a television station that has been on the air for over 50 years. The owner, Marciel Granier, has been running around the world crying because he is about to loose his license. Even the millionaires in the U.S. Senate feel he should get to keep the license. Interestingly, Granier was president of the censored El Diario in 1992. He didn’t complain then. I bought his newspaper. He got his money.
Granier is no saint and his channel hasn’t been an example of the heavenly kingdom on earth either. RCTV was taken off the air five times by Venezuelan administrations before Chavez ever entered the presidential palace. In 1981, for example, it was taken off the air for 24 hours because of airing pornographic scenes.
In 2002, RCTV actively encouraged Venezuelans to march toward the presidential palace in order to participate in a coup that was taking place to overthrow the democratically elected president. Marciel Granier gave clear instructions to the managing producer of Venezuela’s most watched news program on the day of the coup that he should not give any information about President Chavez. Actions like this would not be tolerated by the FCC in the U.S.
Hardy also wants us to know that RCTV is not being censored. It can still broadcast via satellite, cable, internets…and oh yeah, other commercial broadcasters, which may opt to buy programming from the inordinately rich tin-pot media dictator, Granier.
Although not many of them may want to, since, as Aporrea reports, several infamous media organizations are all on notice now for their various offences:
“We firmly support the request for an investigation placed before the Public Ministry by the Popular Power minister for Communications and Information, William Lara, concerning the media campaigns of private station Globovision, the US network CNN, and the website Noticiero Digital, to determine whether they carried a message which was tendentious and had implications of treason.”
So said the president of the Subcommission on Media in the National Assembly, Deputy Rosario Pacheco.
Pacheco stated “We perceive that in some private media, such as Globovision and Noticiero Digital, there are messages inciting [violence] disguised as news and opinion.”
The parliamentarian also rejected the declarations of spokespersons of the Inter-American Press Association and Reporters Without Borders, saying that they were “a cynical interference in the internal affairs of this country on the part of organizations which have no moral standing, since in 2002 they did not condemn the coup d’etat, nor the oppressive silence imposed by the private media during a moment of national emergency.”
Pacheco added that all these institutions, which claimed to be “independent”, had received money from the US State Department and, as a result, the positions they took were in line with the interests of the US government, in opposition to the will of the Venezuelan people.
CNN has already backed off from its repeated blunder (if indeed it was a blunder, and not deliberate disinformation!) of using footage of a Mexican antigovernment demonstration in its reporting on the RCTV situation. Let’s see what Globovision (nicknamed Goebbelvision by those in the know) and Venezuela’s own little Freeperville do next; I predict some comical contortions in the days and weeks to come, especially on Basurero Digital, which looks to me like the kind of sanatorium where bad disociados in the last stages of rabies go to die. It should be especially funny in light of the dirt which Eva Golinger has recently dug up.
Finally, here is what is replacing the audio-visual dungheap that was RCTV:
The earliest moments of TVes, the new social TV station. It looks great; I love the opener, a beautiful rendition of the national anthem by a youth orchestra and choir. (The conductor is adorable, too; looks like he’s having the time of his life up there.) There’s an inspiring speech by the new station’s president, Lil Rodriguez, and a folk-dance troupe from Zulia performing what looks like a very traditional circle dance. The programming preview looks enticing, too. Definitely a step up from lame soap operas, badly dubbed Hollywood action movies, pornographic ads, and that crazy hibberjibber that passed for news reporting.
All in all, the airwaves over Caracas just got a lot cleaner, and that fresh smell in the air is better than Febreze.
Bien hecho, Chavecito. Como siempre.