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A reminder from Venezuela's Marcel Granier of RCTV
During questions after the Freedom House presentation, we heard from a member of the audience, Marcel Granier, owner of Radio Caracas TV (RCTV). RCTV is the popular over-air Venezuelan TV station that Chavez shut down in 2007. Since then, Granier has been using cable to deliver his TV signal, and in January 2010 Chavez ordered cable networks not to carry the station, prompting a USG reaction. (According to the Associated Press: “U.S. State Department Spokesman P.J. Crowley echoed earlier comments by the U.S. Embassy that Washington is concerned.’Clearly, we think that a free and independent media is a vital element of any democracy. And any time the government shuts down an independent network, that is an area of concern,” he said. “We have raised this issue with the Venezuelans.’”) Granier’s family has owned the Radio Caracas TV for more than 50 years. The station carried Neil Armstrong’s walk on the moon, as well as important political analysis programs and the most popular soap operas in Venezuela. Mr. Granier himself is a respected intellectual as well as a businessman. He has done academic work in education and law and is author of such books as “The generation of change Vs. the omnipotent State.” Jim Glassman reminded us that Mr. Granier’s story – though it involves old fashioned broadcast and CATV technology – is part of the same phenomenon that is besetting cyber dissidents — the ”Freedom Recession.”
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