by Stephen Lendman
Western media scoundrels waged war on Chavez. They did so throughout his tenure. Managed news misinformation substituted for truth and full disclosure.
Chavez is gone. Misreporting continues. Post editors march in lockstep with other media scoundrels. Doing so betrays their readers.
On March 16, they headlined "Free speech under fire in Latin America," saying:
Chavez "may be dead, but the offensive he led against democratic institutions in Venezuela and across Latin America has not slackened."
"In fact, it may be accelerating, especially with regard to independent media."
Venezuela's the hemisphere's most open society. America's pales by comparison. Free expression is cherished. It's constitutionally mandated.
Venezuela's Law of Social Responsibility affirms it. It does so without censorship. It promotes responsible programming and journalism.
It respects civil and human rights. It advances cultural values. It encourages active citizen participation.
It tolerates dissent. It enforces acceptable media standards. Violators face fines. Promoting coups, war, public disorder, crime, or other socially disruptive acts risks temporary or longer-term license suspensions.
Venezuelan media giants challenge the law. They do so irresponsibly. Sometimes they go too far. Doing so is lawless. It compromises national security.
During Chavez's tenure, Venezuelan media changed dramatically. In 1998, broadcasting included 331 commercial FM stations.
Eleven public access ones operated. So did 36 private television broadcasters and eight public ones.
Chavez encouraged free and open communication. Operations expanded. By April 2012, radio stations included 499 private ones, 83 public access operators, and 247 community ones.
Sixty-seven commercial television broadcasters operate freely. So do 13 public service and 38 community ones.
Five media giants dominate Venezuelan television. They assailed Chavez throughout his tenure. They materially aided and abetted the aborted two-day April 2002 coup. Globovision's one of the worst. More on that below.
In 2000, National Assembly legislators reformed Venezuela's Organic Telecommunications Law. It affirms communication access. It does so as a human right.
It established three types of media. They include private, state and community.
In 2004, lawmakers passed the Social Responsibility in Television and Radio Law (Ley Resorte). It prohibits inciting hatred, intolerance, racism, criminal activity, public disorder, discrediting elected officials, and disrepecting laws.
In 2010, it did so for Internet communications.
Venezuelan media operate freely. Chavez tolerated no less. Western media scoundrels claimed otherwise. They still do. They misreport saying so.
They spurn professional standards. They violate journalistic ethics. The Society of Professional Journalists' Code of Ethics says:
"....public enlightenment is the forerunner of justice and the foundation of democracy."
"The duty of the journalist is to further those ends by seeking truth and providing a fair and comprehensive account of events and issues."
"Conscientious journalists from all media and specialties strive to serve the public with thoroughness and honesty."
"Professional integrity is the cornerstone of a journalist's credibility."
The Radio-Television News Directors Association Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct stresses public trust, credibility, accuracy, truth, "reporting anything known to be false," avoiding bias, fairness, integrity, independence, accountability, and "responsibility to the profession of electronic journalism."
Media scoundrels fail on all counts. They serve wealth, power and privilege. They sacrifice principle and honor. Misinformation and lies substitute for truth. It's standard practice.
Venezuelan private media operate the same way. As long as within the law, they're unchallenged. Chavez wanted it no other way. It's no different now. Not according to Post scoundrels.
"Last week," they said, "the beleaguered owner of the last Venezuelan television station not subservient to the government announced that he was selling his shares to a businessman close to the ruling party."
In 2010, Post editors alleged Chavez forced Guillermo Zuloaga into exile. He's Globovision's majority owner.
He accepted a buyout offer. It'll close after April 14 elections. He did so for financial reasons. He said Globovision's "economically unviable because our revenues no longer cover our cash needs."
He blamed Venezuela's government for his business failures. He said so publicly. He lied.
He's selling to buyers headed by Juan Domingo Cordero. He's a leading Venezuelan entrepreneur. He's an insurance magnate.
He's vice president of the Caracas Stock Exchange. He was part of a commission created to integrate metropolitan area market activities.
He founded, directs and serves as president of the Venezuelan Institute of Capital Markets. He has extensive business interests. He's unconnected to Venezuela's government. Post editors lied saying so.
They claimed "(t)he silencing of Globovision will leave Venezuela with nine television networks, including five that are state owned and broadcast nearly incessant government propaganda that the four privately-owned channels won't dare to challenge."
As explained above, Venezuela has 67 commercial television broadcasters. They operate freely. So do 13 public service and 38 community ones.
Private ones challenge government policies ad nauseam. Public and community ones expose their propaganda. They do so responsibly.
Post editors claim Globovision "was charged with 'sowing panic' for reporting on an earthquake, fined $2.2 million for its coverage of a bloody prison riot and, most recently, accused again of spreading panic for questioning whether the delay of Mr. Chavez's presidential inauguration during his final illness violated the constitution - which it clearly did."
Delaying Chavez's inauguration complied fully with Venezuelan law. Post editors lied claiming otherwise.
Zuloaga's been living abroad since 2010. He left after Venezuelan courts ordered his arrest. His son, Guillermo Zuloaga Siso, was charged.
It pertains to conspiracy and generic usury. It relates to irregularities connected to their car dealership.
Conspiracy involves two or more people plotting criminal acts. Guilty parties face two to five years in prison. Generic usury refers to concealing facts for disproportionate advantage. It carries a one to three year sentence.
In 2009, both men got restraining orders. Zuloaga was prohibited from leaving the country. He refused to turn himself in. He secreted himself.
He broke the law. He said Chavez victimized him. He claimed it involved silencing free expression. Not so. It was unrelated to Globovision content.
He fled overseas. He did so to avoid prosecution. He remains there unprosecuted. He's a fugitive. He admits he's an "enemy of the government.
Globovision's his propaganda vehicle. It turns truth on its head. In late 2011, it was fined $1.5 million. It paid eight months late. It did so after Venezuela's Supreme Court forced compliance.
It violated Articles 27 and 29 of Venezuela's Law of Social Responsibility in Radio and Television. Globovision's a serial offender. So are other major television broadcasters.
In 2007, RCTV's (Radio Caracas Television) operating license was suspended. It's Venezuela's oldest private broadcaster. A public TV station (TVES) replaced it.
It "promotes the participation and involvement of all Venezuelans in the task of communication (as an alternative to) the media concentration of the radio-electric spectrum that remains in the hands of a (dominant corporate) minority sector."
RCTV's cable and satellite operations were unaffected. Suspending one license was far less than deserved.
Along with other dominant corporate broadcasters, it committed sedition. It aided and abetted the April 2002 coup.
No one went to prison. Broadcasters still operate. RCTV got off easy. One operating license wasn't renewed. It took effect on expiration. Harsher punishment was warranted.
Venezuelan media scoundrels exceed America's worst. Globovision's a loose cannon. It spurns public interest. It wages war on truth.
Chavez let it operate freely. He did so because press freedom matters. Post scoundrels claimed he compromised it. They lied saying so.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at email@example.com.
His new book is titled "Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity."
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.
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