Community Media in Venezuela Gets Funding from Telecoms Authority

Venezuela’s National Commission of Telecommunications (CONATEL) has allocated funds to 31 community and alternative media outlets in order to strengthen and guarantee their operational capacity, as well as improve their internet and telephone access.


The funds will allow community media to cover operating costs and improve their access to technology, paving the way for the consolidation of a massive community media network.

“We’re receiving the first [financial] contribution of a project to strengthen community media,” said Charly Mendez, the president of a community-based TV station in Petare, a populous neighborhood in Caracas.

Mendez said the funds will be used to improve the quality of the TV station. “We have been broadcasting for the last three years, giving the community the opportunity to create their own programming, since 70 percent of what the TV station broadcasts is created by the community itself,” he said.

In Venezuela, socialist lawmakers in the National Assembly passed the Draft Law on Communications for People’s Power last November 2011, an initiative which proposes to regulate the functioning of over 1,200 community and alternative media outlets throughout Venezuela.

Meanwhile, opposition deputies voted against the draft law, which also defines aspects such as the participation of community and alternative media in the distribution of the radio spectrum, publicity from government agencies and the creation of a financing fund.

The draft law will now be publicly debated with stakeholders through the National Assembly’s Commission on Media and People’s Power, as established in the lawmaking process. It will then be discussed for a second time by lawmakers at a plenary session of the National Assembly, to be approved article by article before the law is passed and issued to the Executive, which enacts it and decrees its validity.

This draft law is the second document of this kind to be delivered to Parliament through the model of the “Legislator Pueblo,” or “People-Legislators” in English, a parliamentary initiative allowing citizens to propose draft laws by petitioning the legislature. The first law to be passed under this initiative was the Law on Renting, enacted last November 12th.

Representatives from community media delivered a first version of the draft communications law, signed by over 26,000 citizens, to the Commission of Media and People’s Power on August 4th, 2011.

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