CARACAS – Venezuelan press associations, along with dozens of people, gathered on Thursday before the headquarters of the National Telecommunications Commission (Conatel) and asked for the “immediate” reversal of the measure banning CNN en Español from cable television in the South American country.
National Press Workers Union (SNTP) chief Marco Ruiz told reporters at the Conatel HQ that they were also there to ask that the investigation of the US channel “be done in accord with what is established by law.”
“We’re demanding the immediate cancellation of this decision for being illegal, arbitrary and for making a joke of Venezuelans’ rights and, I insist, for them to act in accord with the law,” he added.
The document delivered to Conatel was signed by the SNTP, the Espacio Publico NGO, the National College of Journalists (CNP), and the Venezuelan Press and Society Institute (Ipys), Ipys director Marianela Balbi said.
Meanwhile, CNP president Tinedo Guia told EFE that the government must respect the rights established in the Constitution, the right to information and freedom of expression, noting that there are newspapers in the country that are experiencing a paper shortage.
Also participating in the protest was the president of the Venezuelan Parliament’s Media Communications Committee, Adriana D’Elia, who provided her backing for the document delivered by the press associations.
Minutes before the arrival of the press associations at Conatel HQ, dozens of pro-government activists also demonstrated there and delivered a document to the organization asking that CNN en Español be “removed altogether” from Venezuelan airwaves.
Conatel operations manager Enrique Quintana was the official who received both documents.
Conatel on Wednesday launched an “administrative sanction procedure” against CNN en Español for “allegedly” attacking Venezuela’s “peace and democratic stability.”
CNN en Español’s feed was cut off after it broadcast a story alleging that Venezuelan passports were being sold to Middle Eastern citizens, a report that drew harsh criticism from Caracas.
Calling the cable news network’s negative reporting “systematic and repeated,” Conatel released a statement saying it ordered the “immediate” feed cutoff as a “preventive measure.”
Meanwhile, the president of the Venezuelan cable TV chamber, Ronald Rodriguez, told EFE on Thursday that Conatel had not ordered cable companies to drop the channels of Mexico’s TV Azteca from its broadcasting list, as had been reported by several local media outlets.
“We have received no communication from Conatel so far,” said Rodriguez, going on to say that the channel’s halt in broadcasting on some providers could be linked to “negotiations that did not come to fruition” between cable operators and the Mexican channel.