Caracas, March 24th 2010 (Venezuelanalysis.com) – Venezuela rejected a resolution by the Inter-American Press Association (IAPA), an organisation comprised of owners of large media corporations, which called on the Organization of American States (OAS) to intervene in Venezuela through the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR).
In a statement on Monday, the IAPA urged the OAS to intervene in Venezuela on behalf of Radio Caracas Televisión (RCTV), a private television channel that is part of 1BC group. This group, together with Venezuela’s private business chamber Fedecamaras, participated in the April 2002, U.S.-backed military coup against the democratically elected president, Hugo Chavez.
In January 2010 RCTV’s cable television licence was temporarily suspended due to its refusal to comply with Venezuelan telecommunications regulations which establish standards for child and adult programming, prohibit racist, sexist or inflammatory content and incitements to violence, and require stations to broadcast important government announcements.
Just weeks before it was suspended, RCTV broadcast an interview with current Fedecamaras president Noel Alvarez calling for a “military solution” in Venezuela and refused to broadcast government announcements.
At its mid-year meeting in Aruba, the IAPA said that it would request the OAS and its Secretary General José Miguel Insulza to “authorize the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) and the Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression to pay a visit to Venezuela to carry out a fair mediation following the closure of Radio Caracas Televisión and the situation facing the independent media.”
Venezuela rejected the IACHR as biased and has not allowed the organisation to visit the country due to the fact that IACHR Executive Secretary Santiago Cantón recognised the short-lived illegitimate Pedro Carmona government that dissolved all public powers during the 2002 coup.
Roy Daza, the president of the National Assembly’s Standing Committee on Foreign Policy, denounced the IAPA’s resolution as part of a broader campaign that aims to promote subversion and regime change in Venezuela.
Daza, who is also a journalist, condemned opposition political groups, who he said “have converted themselves into the media, and use the IAPA meetings to promote the destabilization and international isolation of Venezuela.”
The IAPA’s repeated attacks against Venezuela are a reflection of a private media campaign across the continent which aims to undermine Venezuelan democracy, he continued.
During the IAPA meeting in Aruba, Venezuelan media mogul, David Natera, president of the Venezuelan Press Block (BPV) and owner of Venezuelan newspaper Correo del Caroní, warned against the supposed “imminent danger of collapse and disappearance” of “independent media” in Venezuela.
Daza scoffed at the allegations, saying “Venezuela enjoys full freedom of speech and the press.”
The vast majority of print, radio and television media in Venezuela remains in private hands and is politically aligned with the opposition. More than 90% of the print media is privately owned, and newspapers often publish front page calls for the overthrow of the Chavez government.
Private owners control 522 of the radio stations, while 243 are local community-based operations and 139 radio stations are publicly owned.
In television, more than 60% of broadcasting concessions (65 stations) are in private hands, while just under 35% (37) are community-based and six are publicly owned.
Representatives of pro-government and community media in Venezuela and the non-governmental organizations Journalists for the Truth and the Movement for Necessary Journalism also attended the IAPA summit in Aruba and argued that through the expansion of community and public media the Chávez government has acted to counter concentration and foster democratization of the media.
The IAPA, a Miami-based organisation, also criticized other left-leaning governments in Latin America such as Ecuador, Argentina, Bolivia and Cuba, for alleged threats to press freedom but failed to issue criticisms against Mexico and Colombia where, according to their own reports, press freedom is seriously under threat due to drug trafficking, armed conflict and numerous assassinations of journalists.
Argentina’s secretary of the presidency, Gustavo Lopez, responded saying the IAPA, which has been linked to the recent military coup in Honduras, has “no moral authority” to issue resolutions on press freedom as the organisation, has “endorsed some of the most bloody coup d’etats in recent decades.”
“The IAPA is an entity that groups owners of newspapers. It’s not a non-profit organisation, nor an academic institution or an NGO. It is simply a boss’s organisation,” Lopez said.
Bolivian Government Minister Sacha Llorenti also rejected the IAPA claims saying, “The Inter-American Press Association has no moral authority to speak about democratic principles, freedom of expression, and freedom of the press. It’s an instrument of imperialism.”
The IAPA corresponds to business interests and not journalists and therefore its reports and recommendations are “worthless,” Llorenti added.