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Venezuela: The "Gag" law is signed into law

By Daniel Duquenal

08.12.04 | So that is it, Chavez signed into law the National Assembly repressive instructions voted yesterday while the opposition representatives were wearing a black gag on the debate floor.

I really do not care for what defenders of that law say: its objective is clear for all of us.

These are two.

Objective one is to avoid most criticism of a government during the hours of maximum TV and radio audience. During these hours some of the distasteful actions from the government when it does unpalatable activities such as some we saw in the recent days for the investigations of the Anderson case, will have to be only alluded to. No graphic language, and images even less, will be allowed before 11 PM. The sanctions previewed and the people that will be in charge to decide on these sanctions certify that in practice a self censorship will become the rule. Otherwise, the excessive sanctions will certify that networks will go bankrupt. Why that? Well, more unpalatable actions are on the way.

On a longer objective, by promoting "local talent" that will have to "register and be approved" by the government, it certifies that in the long run we will have a more monochromatic TV. That is right, you will have to watch stuff prepared by people approved by the government. The stuff will not be censored directly but indirectly. The perfect crime?

But the international battle is just starting. There was first the need to vote the law, even Spanish premier was rumored to have asked Chavez to desist. But now that the law is voted, the fun starts. Chavez openly defied the first international criticism

"We are going to put an end to fascism in private media"

I wonder if he realizes how fascist is that language.

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