Venezuela Celebrates Its Flag Day by Shutting Down Media 

by Martin Barillas Tuesday, August 04, 2009
Contact: Sarah E. Price
Institute on Religion and
Public Policy
1620 I Street, NW, Suite LL10
Washington, DC 20006
Phone: 202-8358760/Fax: 202-835-8764
Price@religionandpolicy.org



Washington, D.C., July 22, 2009. ImpactWire.com - The Institute on Religion and Public Policy condemns Hugo Chavez's actions in closing 34 radio stations, particularly stations that have been critical of President Chavez. These actions demonstrate President Chavez's complete disregard for the rule of law and represent a long train of abuses and usurpations. Despite the government crackdown, some of the closed stations are attempting to assert their rights to speech and expression by broadcasting over the internet.

The government claims they are simply applying a generally applicable regulation that requires media outlets to maintain their licenses. However, enforcing these regulations disproportionately affects Venezuela's privately owned media, who represent the sole source of unbiased, non-propagandized information in the country. This move, which the Venezuelan Chamber of Radio Broadcasters believes to be highly illegal, comes amid government efforts to create prison sentences for 'media crimes.'

Chavez's ongoing efforts to stamp out opposition, including the passage of a bill to redraw voting districts last Friday, demonstrate his maniacal need to retain power rather than letting his countrymen have a fair and free election. Furthermore, his actions have inspired his supporters to violently attack anyone voicing criticism of him and his policies. Yesterday, a group of Chavez's supporters threw tear gas canisters and fired shots at the studios of a television studio well known for its criticism of President Chavez.

"Closing these radio stations is clearly Chavez's flagrant attempt to subvert the law in order to regain control over the airwaves so he can use them to spout government propaganda. This type of attack on the freedom of expression cannot be tolerated," said Institute Founder and President Joseph K. Grieboski.


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About Institute on Religion and Public Policy


The Institute on Religion and Public Policy is an international, inter-religious non-profit organization dedicated to ensuring freedom of religion as the foundation for security, stability, and democracy.

The Institute works globally with government policymakers, religious leaders, business executives, academics, international and regional organizations, non-governmental organizations and others in order to develop, protect, and promote fundamental rights - especially the right of religious freedom - and contributes to the intellectual and moral foundation of the fundamental right of religious freedom. Nominated twice for the Nobel Peace Prize, the Institute encourages and assists in the effective and cooperative advancement of religious freedom.


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Contact: Sarah E. Price
Institute on Religion and
Public Policy
1620 I Street, NW, Suite LL10
Washington, DC 20006
Phone: 202-8358760/Fax: 202-835-8764
Price@religionandpolicy.org

0    submitted by Martin Barillas
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