Published On: Fri, May 23rd, 2014

Inter-American court called on to penalise Venezuela for unlawful TV station shutdown

RCTVMIAMI, USA -- The Inter American Press Association (IAPA) has asked the Inter-American Human Rights Court to rule against the Venezuelan government for the unlawful shutdown of Radio Caracas Televisión (RCTV) broadcasting company in 2007. The request came after Monday’s submission of an amicus curiae brief, which the court is due to hold a hearing on at the end of the month.

In the name of the IAPA, the organization’s president, Elizabeth Ballantine, in coordination with the press freedom and legal affairs committees, invited the “Inter-American Human Rights Court to rule against the Venezuelan government’s decision to halt RCTV’s license and retaliate against it for its editorial stance -- a flagrant violation of the principles of freedom of expression established in the American Convention.”

The case before the court concerns Marcel Granier and other shareholders, members of the Board of Directors and/or journalists of RCTV, a media outlet that began broadcasting in 1953, “whose license, according to report No. 112/12 of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights was not renewed by the government in 2007 in reprisal for their critical editorial stance and reports against the government,” the IAPA declared in its opinion.

The IAPA also said that “through precautionary measures presented by social organizations the Constitutional Tribunal of the Supreme Court ordered the impoundment, without indemnity, of all RCTV platforms, with the aim of securing the immediate operation of a television signal.”

The government, under direct orders from former president, Hugo Chávez Frías, shut down the RCTV’s open signal and confiscated its 48 repeater stations and broadcast equipment. A new public TV channel began operating after the station’s equipment was disconnected. Televisora Venezolana Social (TVes), sponsored principally by the Venezuelan government, is using the frequencies that RCTV previously had and is operating throughout the country using the broadcast equipment belonging to it.

The IAPA has a long history of submitting opinions and creating initiatives at the Inter-American Court and Commission.

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