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Portugal's government denies pre-poll censorship

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Portugal's government denies pre-poll censorship

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A political storm has enveloped Portugal after one of its leading TV channels shelved a programme about a corruption case.

TVI has yet to explain the decision but its presenter and senior editors have all resigned. With less than a month to go before elections, some are demanding an inquiry, accusing the government of censorship. Portugal’s chief media regulator Azeredo Lopes,said: “I consider this to be absolutely unacceptable. This is a public service broadcaster and we cannot ignore the consequences of such a decision during an electoral campaign.’‘ Prime Minister Jose Socrates has denied putting any pressure on the popular private channel. “This decision is the sole responsibility of the directors of the company,” he said. “Neither I nor the Socialist Party nor the government had anything to do with this decision. That is why I find it totally unfair… to accuse the government or Socialist Party of influencing this.’‘ Ahead of this month’s vote, opinion polls show Socrates’ Socialists are likely to lose their parliamentary majority. The so-called Freeport scandal, the focus of the axed TV1 programme, alleges government officials issued building permits for the Freeport shopping development in exchange for bribes.