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Monday, February 24, 2014

How Nicolas Maduro controls Venezuelan media

A favorite source for those who still insist that freedom of speech in Venezuela is as thriving as ever is this BBC report (quoting the Communication Ministry), which states that only 5 percent of media outlets are owned by the state. The rest are in private hands, the argument goes, implying they’re therefore free to criticize the government.
Even if we disregard the well-founded fear of retaliation that causes private TV stations like Venevisión and Televén to sanitize their newscasts and keep critical political content to a minimum, this is unconvincing, because the government has an ace in the hole: it can force all radio and TV outlets to transmit a cadena, a compulsory simultaneous broadcast of government propaganda through all private and public media, of indefinite duration.

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