UNESCO chief voices concern after media outlets in Venezuela lose licenses

12 August 2009

The head of the United Nations agency tasked with defending press freedom has voiced deep concern today over a recent order to revoke the licences of 34 radio and television broadcasters in Venezuela.

“I am deeply concerned over the reduction in the number of outlets through which citizens can exercise their right to receive information from diverse sources,” said UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Director-General Koïchiro Matsuura.

“The people of Venezuela have the right to benefit from a diversity of perspectives in reports and analyses of events that concern them,” stressed Mr. Matsuura.

He added that without a number of media outlets operating in the country, there can be no freedom of expression, or even democracy, and urged authorities “to reconsider their decision to take a great many broadcasters off air, and to protect media personnel from harassment.”

According to an order issued in July, another 240 radio stations and 45 television channels are in danger of losing their licenses for alleged breaches of Telecommunication Law, in addition to the 32 radio and two television stations which have already lost the right to broadcast.

Mr. Matsuura also noted recent reports of an attack on the headquarters of Globovisión by 30 individuals, led by Lina Ron, head of the Venezuelan Popular Unity party (UPV), who forced their way into the building, throwing teargas which reportedly affected four people.

 

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