Thursday, March 31, 2011

Someone's idea of a joke?.. Hugo Chavez awarded prize for "Press Freedom"

Kind of like Fidel Castro winning the Muammar Gaddafi Human Rights Award:
Buenos Aires, Argentina (CNN) -- Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez was given a prestigious journalism award in Argentina on Tuesday, despite his frequent and outspoken criticism of media outlets at home and abroad.  
Chavez received the Rodolfo Walsh journalism award from Argentina's Universidad Nacional de La Plata "for his unquestionable and authentic commitment to support the freedom of peoples." 
..Flush with petrodollars, Chavez's government in 2005 helped create Telesur, a state-funded television network that covers news from throughout Latin America and the globe. Telesur has been championed as an alternative voice to privately owned media conglomerates, but also criticized for its one-sided coverage of Chavez. Ironically, at Tuesday's award ceremony, private television networks were prohibited from broadcasting the event with their own cameras and instead had to air the signal provided by Telesur. 
Journalists and politicians in Argentina criticized the choice of Chavez as the award recipient, claiming that he has continually worked to silence his critics and suppress freedom of the press throughout Venezuela. 
"Chavez has closed more than 30 radio stations and six television channels and constantly threatens to take away broadcast licenses of any media that is at all critical of his administration," said Jorge Macri, a congressman from Buenos Aires province. "That's why I consider it a lack of respect for the people who have received this award previously that it is now being awarded to the Venezuelan president."
The rest is at CNN

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