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Who owns the airwaves in Venezuela? Printer friendly page Print This
By Staff Writers, teleSUR
Saturday, Nov 26, 2016

Despite criticism alleging that there is no freedom of expression in Venezuela, in reality, the vast majority of outlets are privately-owned.

At an event celebrating the approval of 26 licenses issued for community radio and television outlets, the director of Venezuela's National Telecommunications Commission lamented the myth that private outlets have been pushed off the air.

The offices of Venezuela's National Telecommunications Commission in Caracas is seen in this undated file photo. | Photo: Conatel

"There is a false rumor out there, a false one, it must be said, that the public media and the community media have who knows how much of the operations of the radio spectrum … At most, between community broadcasters and all public operators (have) about 32 percent, the other 68 of the spectrum operators are private, and remain private,” said Andres Eloy Mendez.

Venezuela's socialist government has faced heavy criticism from international observers for allegedly limiting freedom of expression. Most famously over the decision by the Venezuelan government to not renew the license for RCTV, a private outlet that was extremely hostile toward the Bolivarian Revolution.

Venezuela decided not to renew the channel's license in 2007, which had broadcast over the air since 1958, after authorities found that the channel had run afoul of the law on several occasions, broadcasting material in contravention of recognized regulations.

RCTV also notoriously backed a 2002 coup attempt that briefly ousted late President Hugo Chavez.

As in most countries throughout the world, in Venezuela the radio spectrum is publicly owned with licenses granted to outlets on the grounds they respect legislation regarding media outlets.

Venezuela's National Telecommunications Commission is currently reviewing applications and renewal requests for licenses for 55 privately held media outlets.

Eloy said that the licenses would be renewed so long as the outlets respected the Organic Law of Telecommunications and the Law of Social Responsibility in Radio, Television and Electronic Media.

“We are launching a work plan where we are going to renew the private outlets that need to be renewed, those who have used it with responsibility … Now, those who have used a radio to advocate for war, to instigate racial, religious or ideological hatred, we have to review it, we are obliged to,” said Eloy.

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