Friday, July 31, 2009

In Case You Have Forgotten, Chavez Is a Scoundrel

AP Headline: Venezuela: 'Freedom of expression must be limited'

Never mind that Venezuela didn't say that. A Venezuelan official did. And never mind that the sentiment has not been made into law. Anyway...

CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) - Venezuela's top prosecutor insisted Thursday that freedom of expression in Venezuela "must be limited" and proposed legislation that would slap additional restrictions on the country's news media.

The new law would punish the owners of radio stations, television channels and newspapers that have attempted to "cause panic" and "disturb social peace," Attorney General Luisa Ortega said.


Oh, so you mean they might enact a law against incitement to riot? Wow. We would never have anything like that here.

It also would punish media owners who "manipulate the news with the purpose of transmitting a false perception of the facts."

Now that we could use.

Just kidding. I’m no proponent of restrictions on freedom of speech. In fact, I don’t even think there should be laws against incitement to riot. I’m just trying to point out that the media here love to make Venezuela into a bogeyman.

Chavez's administration is slowly tightening its grip over the news media, raising concerns among watchdog and human rights groups that accuse the government of trying to stifle dissent.

Venezuela's telecommunications commission notified 50 radio stations earlier this week that their broadcast licenses could be revoked because they failed to update their registrations.

That sounds like a perfectly good reason to warn them their licenses could be revoked, and it only has tones of government attempts to stifle if you say that’s what it is. In fact, if a license is a requirement to broadcast, not having that license is a reason to relieve you of your privilege to broadcast. Now, if there’s any question about government attempts to stifle dissent, we’d need to know whether the licensing requirements are problematic. I don’t see any complaint about that.

....but hey, do what you will anyway.

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