OFFICE OF THE SPECIAL RAPPORTEUR FOR FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION EXPRESSES CONCERN OVER THE SITUATION OF RADIO CARACAS TELEVISION (RCTV) IN VENEZUELA
Washington, D.C. December 31, 2006. The Office of the Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) of the OAS has learned with concern about recent statements made by the President of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela to the effect that the Government has apparently decided not to renew RCTV’s license for use of the television frequency.
RCTV is a television station that began operating more than 50 years ago whose editorial position has been predominantly critical of the current government. In May 1987, the Government of Venezuela renewed RCTV’s broadcasting licence for a period of 20 years. The current government therefore claims that the licence will expire in May 2007. RCTV argues that the license was renewed in 2001 and will be in effect until 2012.
Beyond any legal considerations, the Office of the Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression believes that, if the government’s decision were implemented, Venezuelans would be deprived of possible access to a medium with editorial views critical of the government.
The Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression, Ignacio J. Alvarez, said that “it is of the utmost importance to freedom of expression in Venezuela that the government’s actions guarantee the continued existence of media with diverse editorial positions, in order to ensure a climate of democratic pluralism where people are exposed on a daily basis to different views on matters that concern them.”
The Office of the Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression urges the Government of the Boliviarian Republic of Venezuela to preserve the plurality of the mass media, and offers its advice and assistance in this regard, within its sphere of competence.
For additional information about the Office of the Special Rapporteur: http://www.cidh.org/relatoria/index.asp?lID=1.