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Press Freedom Disappearing In Venezuela As Globovision Comes Under Government Control

August 23, 2013

By Andrew O’Reilly

Venezuela GlobovisionVenezuelan President Nicolás Maduro increasing pressure on the county’s last private news channel has prompted six senior journalists to leave the company in protest of what they say is a shift in Globovision’s editorial direction.

The reporters and television anchors left in response to the “abrupt, violent and aggressive” departure of creative director Leopoldo Castillo earlier this month after 12 years with the company. The president has been accused of meddling with editorial matters at the media conglomerate.

The “conditions for conducting free journalism are absent from Globovision,” Roberto Giusti, former host of talk show “33 Degrees,” told Bloomberg BusinessWeek.

Globovision is Venezuela’s most watched news channel and was a frequent target of attack by late Venezuelan Socialist leader Hugo Chávez, who branded the station as one of the “four horsemen of the apocalypse” for its role in a 2002 failed coup attempt against him. Since its sale back in May to three owners of Caracas-based insurance company Seguros La Vitalicia, the company’s editorial policy and coverage has changed dramatically.

The channel has ended six news and current affairs programs, let go of 14 journalists to date and stopped airing the speeches of political opposition leader Henrique Capriles.

“Globovision has been a window for the country to have information in real time that’s different from that of the government,” wrote Capriles in May after being informed that the channel’s new board of directors allegedly banned his speeches from being broadcast live.

In a statement on Globovision’s website last week, company Chairman Raúl Gorrín attempted to deflect the allegations made by former employees and said that the channel is committed to “the most diverse ideas and opinions, presented with respect and tolerance.”

The news of the departures signals the growing threat to free press in Venezuela, where independent journalism has been stifled, first under the Chávez government and now with Maduro. Read more at Fox News Latino.

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