Media Talk: RCTV off the air: What’s the full story?

Talk Friday 6th July, 2007

The Venezuelan government’s decision not to renew the broadcasting licence of Radio Caracas Television (RCTV) is changing the face of Venezuelan media.
RCTV is Venezuela’s oldest and most popular TV channel. Critics of President Hugo Chavez and defenders of freedom of speech have condemned the station’s closure as evidence of the government’s increasing monopoly over Venezuelan media and an attempt to stamp out opposition.

Others blame RCTV for biased reporting during the 2002 coup against the Chavez government and accuse it of ignoring the values of Venezuela’s Bolivarian revolution.

In a deeply divided society, the RCTV crisis has intensified tensions and brought the Venezuelan government under international scrutiny as many question the legitimacy of its decision.
Is the media under Chavez being muzzled? How powerful is the private media and what role did they play in the 2002 coup-d’etat? How will freedom of speech fare in Venezuela?

Richard Gott –  Former Latin America correspondent and features editor for The Guardian, he is currently an honorary research fellow at the Institute for the Study of the Americas at the University of London.

Jonathan Rugman – Dimplomatic Correspondent for Channel 4 News.

Peter Noorlander – Senior Legal Officer, Article 19.

Carlos Lauria – Americas Programme Coordinator, CPJ. (Via phine link).

Yolanda Valery – Producer at the BBC World Service (Latin America). Yolanda Valery worked as a journalist in Venezuela for 10 years for Radio Caracas Radio and El Universal TV.

Moderated by Isabel Hilton– Editor of Open Democracy. As former Latin America editor for the Independent, she set up and ran a network of correspondents and stringers in Latin America, and reported extensively from the region.