Caracas, May 29, 2007 (Venezuelanalysis.com)— The Venezuelan government accused CNN and the Venezuelan private channel Globovisión yesterday of using subliminal messages during their coverage of the RCTV protests to instigate violence and incite the assassination of President Hugo Chavez.
Communications Minister William Lara presented two videos as evidence of the supposed manipulations to the public and to the Attorney General's office to be investigated if the channels can be tried for "inciting to commit a crime." Both CNN and Globovisión denied the claims.
Lara presented the information yesterday, accusing the networks of a campaign against Venezuela and of associating the image of Hugo Chavez with images of violence and death. At a press conference in the Attorney General's office Lara showed a video of CNN coverage in which an image of Hugo Chavez appears next to the image of an Al Qaeda leader who was assassinated, and an image of protests in China. Lara said that experts who were consulted assured that the objective of this selection of images was to induce viewers to associate Chavez "with violence and death" and that it "breaks with the universal code of ethics in journalism."
The minister stated that they are considering taking the case before international organizations in order to counter an international campaign to discredit and attack Venezuela. Lara accused CNN of having a political bias against Venezuela since the moment Chavez appeared on the political scene and of "blatantly lying" to deceive and manipulate their viewers.
The second video presented by Lara was of the private Venezuelan channel Globovisión, during a broadcast of the program Aló Ciudadano, in which RCTV president Marcel Granier was being interviewed. While cutting to a commercial break the network showed images of the 1981 assassination of Pope John Paul II, accompanied by a song by Panamanian singer Ruben Blades that says "have faith, for this doesn't end here." In light of the recent protests against the government, the minister concluded that the video has the purpose of "inciting the assassination of the president, and this is what we have asked the Attorney General to investigate."
"As a journalist, I am worried by the poor circumstances through which Venezuelan journalism is passing," said the minister. "This steps on and destroys the Code of Ethics of any valid communicator here in Venezuela. Here what you see is the trafficking of lies."
The Ministry of Communications is requesting that the Attorney General's office begin an investigation of the issue under articles 283 and 300 of the legal code.
Globovisión denied the claims even as Minister Lara was presenting the case at the press conference. The private network divided the screen as Lara spoke, presenting on the other half of the screen the president of Globovision Alberto Federico Ravell denying the claims and challenging the minister to debate the issue.
CNN also denied the claims in a recent letter to the Venezuelan government. Vice president of CNN International Tony Maddox rejected any intention to associate the Venezuelan president with Al Qaeda or with events in China. The executive claimed that news reports that do not have any relation between them can be juxtaposed in a news segment just like they could in a newspaper or website without that intention.
CNN in Spanish and CNN International both categorically denied that they are carrying out a campaign to discredit or attack Venezuela.
Video of Globovisión discussing the RCTV case and showing footage of Pope John Paul II being shot:
CNN En Español uses footage of protest in Mexico claiming that it was an anti-Chavez protest in Venezuela:
CNN shows Hugo Chávez next to Al Qaeda leader: