Authorities here say that RCTV supported a coup that dislodged Chávez for two days in 2002 and consistently violated a range of telecommunications regulations, leading the government not to renew its broadcast license when it expired.
But press freedom groups note that the station has not been officially sanctioned, nor have its owners or managers been charged with conspiracy against the state. Other private stations that were harshly anti-Chávez but have toned down critical coverage avoided the same fate, as communications Minister William Lara readily acknowledged in an interview broadcast Friday on CNN’s Spanish-language service.
Polls show that 65 to 80 percent of Venezuelan respondents disagreed with the government’s decision to end RCTV’s concession, though many were simply upset that they wouldn’t be able to see some of their favorite soap operas.
The widespread dissatisfaction has reenergized an opposition movement that lost much of its momentum after its efforts to recall Chávez were defeated in 2004 and after its decision to boycott parliamentary elections in 2005 left it without representation in the National Assembly.
Waiting for Lula: Cardoso asks Lula to advocate democracy in Venezuela
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