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Venezuela24 May 2007

European Parliament adopts resolution backing embattled broadcaster RCTV

Reporters Without Borders hailed the European Parliament’s adoption this afternoon of a resolution condemning the Venezuelan government’s refusal to renew the broadcast licence of privately-owned broadcaster Radio Caracas Televisión (RCTV).

“We enthusiastically welcome the vote by European parliamentarians on the plight of Radio Caracas Televisión, which will lose its licence on 27 May and will as a result be unable to continue terrestrial broadcasting,” the press freedom organisation said.

“By passing this resolution, the European Parliament has stressed its commitment to the principles of press freedom and editorial pluralism, above and beyond ideological divisions,” Reporters Without Borders continued. “The end of RCTV’s concession above all represents an attack on the principle of pluralism.”

The organisation added: “We nonetheless regret that the debate that preceded the resolution’s adoption was unable to include a dialogue with the Venezuelan authorities, who are deaf to the appeals coming from the international community, including Latin American governments and parliaments, and from the Venezuelan people. President Hugo Chávez should heed the European Parliament’s resolution, which is intended to be an appeal to reason.”

The full text of the resolution is available here:

The resolution says:
-   “... Whereas the non-renewal of the broadcasting license of the private audiovisual group Radio Caracas Televisión (RCTV), which expires on 27 May 2007, may endanger the future of a media organ employing 3,000 people ...
-   Whereas Articles 57 and 58 of Venezuela’s Constitution guarantee freedom of expression, communication and information ...
-   Whereas this decision was publicly announced at the end of December by the President himself, thus establishing an alarming precedent for freedom of expression in Venezuela ...
-   [The European Parliament] calls on the Government of Venezuela, in the name of the principle of the impartiality of the state, to ensure equal treatment under the law for all media, whether privately or publicly owned and irrespective of all political or ideological considerations;
-   Calls for a dialogue between the Venezuelan Government and the country’s private media, while deploring the government’s total unwillingness to engage in dialogue in general, notably in the case of RCTV ...”

The resolution was proposed by the European People’s Party and was backed by the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe. Reporters Without Borders representatives are currently in Venezuela to offer their support to the staff of RCTV and to meet with the media and the authorities involved.

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