"Salvadoran broadcasters blast Chavez's decision not to renew Venezuela TV license", Associated Press Worldstream, January 18, 2007 (S)
SAN SALVADOR El Salvador. Salvadoran broadcasters have added their voices to the growing criticism of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez's decision to not renew the license of the country's oldest private TV station.
The Salvadoran Association of Radio Broadcasters, or ASDER, "condemns the measures" announced by Chavez, it said in a statement relayed Wednesday on all of El Salvador's radio stations.
ASDER also expressed its "solidarity with Radio Caracas Television and all of the radio broadcasters of Venezuela."
As he accelerates his push toward socialism, Chavez has decided that Radio Caracas Television, or RCTV, which is known for its frequent criticism of the government, must go off the air for good when its broadcast license expires on May 28.
"The license of that fascist channel is gone," Chavez said recently. "RCTV's signal will be nationalized for Venezuelans."
Chavez has accused RCTV and several other stations of one-sided coverage and said they effectively supported a failed 2002 coup by broadcasting cartoons and movies instead of covering street protests that aided his return to power.
RCTV insists it has done nothing wrong and says it is being punished for criticizing the government. The station says it has the legal right to keep broadcasting until 2022, and plans to challenge Chavez in court.
The dispute already has prompted statements of concern from the Organization of American States, the Roman Catholic Church, Paris-based Reporters Without Borders and the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists.