The Venezuelan government has begun the shutdown of 34 radio stations. President Hugo Chavez claims the closures are part of efforts to democratize the airwaves. But critics insist the move is an attack on freedom of speech. Hundreds of employees and government critics have been protesting in Caracas.
One radio station executive said, “We don’t expect anything from this measure. It’s an illegal measure that attacks liberty. It’s a political measure and we are here fighting it.”Chavez and his supporters say they’re waging a “media war” against private news companies that discredit Venezuela. The minister of public works, Diosdado Cabello said the radio stations would be ordered to close because they failed to comply with regulations: “We are satisfied they are the first 34 stations when we, the national government, the revolutionary government made the decision to democratize the radio spectrum, to end the media estate.” Another 120 radio stations are being investigated for what is officially called “administrative irregularities”