RCTV: Broadcasting on YouTube in defiance of Chavez

After the Venezuelan government closed RCTV last Sunday, the station turned to YouTube to continue broadcasting news. As of this writing, the YouTube page for El Observador (the name of RCTV’s news program) had more than 9,000 subscribers and 333,0000 views — which made it YouTube’s most-subscribed video of the week.

As Putin in Russia, Chavez and even Mahinda Rajapaksa’s regime in Sri Lanka demonstrate, censorship of the media is alive and kicking. Also alive is the spirit of democracy and with the increasing access to web based media (through PCs as well as mobiles), it’s becoming almost impossible to censor news and information deemed unpalatable for a few.

Also see:
The limits of online freedom and activism?
Defeating repressive regimes
Draft Paper on Mobile Phones and Activism

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3 comments on “RCTV: Broadcasting on YouTube in defiance of Chavez

  1. peoplesgeography
    June 5, 2007 at 12:02 pm #

    To be fair, there’s another side to this that eschews the “cry censorship” beat-up.

    “Shutting down” a broadcaster, and a very corporate and one-sided one at that, sounds so much more sensationalist than “choosing not to renew its license.”

    As Stephen Lendman and others report, this corporate organ for moneyed interests spewed forth anti-Chavez propaganda and promoted the coup against a democratically elected government. Did he shut it down at any point over his administration? No. So this claim that the it government is muzzling free speech is tenuous.

    When the broadcaster’s license came up to be renewed, the Chavez government decided to instead grant it to a more diverse station, legally and democratically. The station had also broken tax laws (and been fined) as well as violated public broadcasting laws, namely, Venezuela’s Law of Social Responsibility for Radio and Television (LSR). As Lendman writes:

    That law guarantees freedom of expression without censorship but prohibits, as it should, transmission of messages illegally promoting, apologizing for, or inciting disobedience to the law that includes enlisting public support for the overthrow of a democratically elected president and his government.

    Media plurality can only be a good thing and I hope the Chavez administration achieve this. I am not an uncritical supporter but think it is only fair to point out that there is more to this story than meets the eye. The article quoted above is a good read if you are interested in reading more.

    Great blog, btw. In peace,


  1. charliebeckett.org » Blog Archive » YouTube v Chavez - June 5, 2007

    […] closed down an opposition TV station but it has popped up again on YouTube – indeed it is now the most watched-video. Whatever, you think about the Chavez decision I am delighted that the internet has provided more […]

  2. Using the web and Internet for democracy - Burma and others « ICT for Peacebuilding (ICT4Peace) - September 27, 2007

    […] as RCTV defied the Venezuelan government’s censorship and my own work on the potential of the web and Internet to support democracy in Nepal, blogs are […]

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