Mérida, May 18, 2007 (venezuelanalysis.com)— Venezuela’s Supreme Court declared "inadmissible" on Thursday the request of RCTV President Marcel Granier to issue an injunction against President Chavez’s decision not to renew his station’s broadcast license, which expires May 27th.
The highest court in Venezuela released the statement Thursday night declaring that the formal request by Marcel Granier could not be admitted to this body since it is the National Telecommunications Commission (Conatel) that must make this ruling. According to the Supreme Court statement it is the responsibility of Conatel "to resolve all things concerning the granting, use, revocation, and other relations between the state and the licensee."
"It is for this reason that the measure is not admissible," said the Supreme Court statement.
RCTV President Marcel Granier filed the request in February, with the hope of being able to continue broadcasting after the May 27th expiration date. The court, however, is already handling two other cases made by the owners and workers of the RCTV television station, through which the court concluded that the complaints can still be resolved.
"There is no evidence in the file that there exists a situation which impedes the plaintiff’s use of the previous judicial process," said the statement referring to two other cases that are awaiting ruling in the court. The statement leaves open the possibility for RCTV to take other judicial measures against the decision.
A little more than one week remains until the private channel’s broadcast license expires. Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez has defended his decision to not renew the license on the grounds that the channel has conspired against him and that it supported the 2002 coup attempt that temporarily overthrew his government.
Marcel Granier, on the other hand, claims that the government decision is an abuse of "freedom of expression" in the country and that RCTV has been singled out for its opposition to the government.
To protest the decision, opposition leaders have called for a march this Saturday in east Caracas. Although government spokespersons, as well as the president himself, have stated that the decision is irreversible, the opposition marchers demand that the concession be renewed.
Pro-Chavez groups are also planning a series of marches and actions to support the decision against the private channel RCTV. On Sunday, May 20th, government supporters will caravan through the town in cars to show support, and later, on Wednesday the 23rd, they will march through the city ending up at the Supreme Court building.
The opposition march has raised concern in the government that these groups might attempt to generate violence to later blame the government for abuses. Minister of the Interior Pedro Carreño said Friday that thousands of police will be deployed on Saturday to protect the marchers from any possible sniper attacks.
Carreño explained that there exist "crazy" extreme opposition groups that could be planning sniper attacks against the opposition marchers.
"This security measure will protect us from any possibility of a ‘self-attack’," he said.
RCTV will be replaced by a new public Television station that will begin broadcasting on May 28th. Blanca Eckhout, President of the Venezuelan TV channel Vive, explained that the new channel will have the objective of "promoting the participation and involvement of all Venezuelans in the task of communication."
The government decision to replace to private channel with a public service channel is about eliminating "the media concentration of the radio-electric spectrum that remains in the hands of a minority sector," said Eckhout.