Bogota, September 28, 2017 (venezuelanalysis.com) – Venezuela’s media watchdog CONATEL has suspended a radio program from the airwaves after a host repeatedly mocked a seven year old caller as “gay”.
The program “Calm Down People” on La Mega 107.3 FM was sanctioned Monday for breaking The Law of Social Responsibility for Radio, Television and Electronic Media, reports CONATEL. Article 27 of the legislation prohibits the broadcasting of hate speech.
On September 18th, the show’s hosts Verónica Gómez, José Rafael Guzmán and Manuel Silva received a phone-in from a seven year old boy called Alejandro from Margarita, Nueva Esparta state. Gomez pressured the boy to define himself as either an opposition or government supporter and called him “gay” when he stated he preferred footballer Cristiano Ronaldo to Leonel Messi.
“Ay! Gay… Never mind!… Ay! The gay boy that wants to be like Ronaldo!… Well, get waxing your eye brows then, let’s wax your eye brows!” said Gomez.
Representatives from Venezuela’s opposition immediately jumped on the suspension as an example of the country’s alleged lack of freedom of expression.
“All our support and solidarity with La Mega and @calmapueblomega The regime will not be able to impose its censorship on a country that screams Liberty!,” tweeted Venezuelan National Assembly Vice-President and right-wing Popular Will party leader Freddy Guevara. The politician also published a photo of himself with the three hosts of the show.
— Freddy Guevara (@FreddyGuevaraC) September 26, 2017
Nonetheless, several opposition supporters tweeted back at Guevara that his solidarity was misplaced, and criticized Gomez’s comments as offensive. La Mega radio station also released a statement distancing the company from the hosts’ actions in the wake of CONATEL’s suspension.
“We want to express before the national public opinion our complete rejection and condemnation of the comments made… which do not reflect in any way the principle and values of this station,” reads the statement.
“We ratify our commitment to the fulfillment of and total adherence to the current normative legal framework of the country, and particularly the Law of Social Responsibility for Radio, Television and Electronic Media,” said the company.
La Mega also expressed its desire to promote the Law for the Protection of Children and Adolescents and said it would not “express solidarity” with the hosts of the program on this occasion.
Recording of Calm Down People radio show begins at 0.36.