Monday, June 11, 2007

Television Is Democracy?

"Freedom of speech, freedom of association and freedom of conscience are not a thorn in the side of government," Rice told the ministers. "Disagreeing with your government is not unpatriotic and most certainly should not be a crime in any country, especially a democracy."


Television is democracy! The right for corporate airwaves to come into your home is a red-blooded, god-given right, eh?

"RCTV's 3,000 employees ''felt their lives were taken away from them,'' said Pérez Hansen, who has worked at RCTV for 15 of his 35 years. Azuaje, a 42-year-old cameraman, is a 23-year RCTV veteran. Rísquez, his 28-year-old assistant, has worked at RCTV for six years. The 31-year-old Ríos is a 10-year veteran.

''When we say we are a family, it's not just some story,'' Ríos said.

They said RCTV management has promised to continue to pay their salaries and generous benefits. But Ríos says RCTV employees are now being denied personal bank loans because of their uncertain future.

Pérez Hansen admits that during the 2002 coup against Chávez there was an ''informative silence'' -- it did not cover pro-Chávez street marches demanding his return to power -- but the group insists that's only part of the story.

Pérez Hansen and Ríos say they received calls from sources in the security services warning they would be attacked if they tried to cover the pro-Chávez marches. Ríos said she was so frightened she spent the night at a friend's house.

And Pérez Hansen recalls tough editorial decisions. RCTV decided not to air reports of supermarkets being plundered for fear of inciting more violence, he said.

For the moment, the group is enjoying the support of their peers. Ríos says major Latin American TV operations like Argentina's Telefe and Mexico's Televisa have inquired about buying some of their programming.

But its members are aware that, like any news story, the issue could fade from public view, and RCTV's employees will have to face the hard economic reality of a station without a broadcast license."


As per usual, the corporate media presents a story of its own as dispossessed, disenfranchised--suggesting to its readers (Miami residents in this case) what if this left-wing disease were to ever attack your society!? You'd lose your comfortable middle-class job (or, at least, your right to expression--seems you may keep your benefits). RCTV played a participant role in a capitalist coup; as a state leader Chavez seems bound to neutralize a major media organ; would Condi Rice really defend similar actions affecting the Bush Administration? No--but of course this is the difference, as Fox News plays its own participant role in US politics and elections. This is not about freedom of speech; it is a matter of who owns the airwaves. The corporate media and the US government would of course have us believe that corporate ownership and control of the airwaves is "democratic," and that state ownership and control in a strong, successful left-wing state is essentially "totalitarian." Who's actually limiting speech here? Is Chavez using shock troops to violently disperse protests against him? Like police have done against "unwanted" elements in the USA, see video in post below.

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