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Venezuela’s high court rejects Globovisión suits against government -
Venezuela’s high court rejects Globovisión suits against government
June 11th, 2009 - 9:17 UTC by Andy Sennitt
Venezuela’s supreme court has rejected two suits brought by the embattled private television network Globovisión in a legal struggle with President Hugo Chávez over control of the news media. The court dismissed as “inadmissable” a challenge to a law requiring the broadcast of government informational messages, which the station argued were “clearly political propaganda.” The court also threw out a suit by Globovisión against the National Telecommunications Commission (Conatel) for putting up for public bidding two broadcast frequencies that the station had sought.
Last week, the 24-hour news network was fined $3.1 million for allegedly using unauthorized antennas for direct broadcasts in 2003 and for allegedly not reporting “hidden donations” in its 2002 and 2003 tax returns. Police searched a mansion belonging to Globovisión president Guillermo Zuloaga, who has also been charged with usury.
The network says Chávez is trying to shut it down. But Mr Chávez said on Friday: “I’m happy that the institutions are working, we have to keep moving against impunity. Let them say what they’ll say.”
On Tuesday, the International Press Institute, a media advocacy group, denounced the deterioration of freedom of the press in Venezuela and in particular the Chávez government’s harassment of Globovisión. A month ago, the Venezuelan president threatened Globovisión with the same fate that befell RCTV (Radio Caracas Televisión), the oldest and most popular television network in the country. The government refused to renew RCTV’s licence in May 2007 because of its critical news coverage.