A leading figure of the Venezuela's right-wing Democratic Unity Roundtable, or MUD coalition, once again publicly criticized public media outlets in the country, accusing them of failing to provide “accurate information.”
Henry Ramos Allup, who has come to play the role of spokesperson of the newly elected opposition majority in the National Assembly, told a private television outlet in Venezuela that the assembly would look to debate a new media laws.
According to the Ramos Allup, the new media laws would on the one hand target Venezuela’s National System of Public Media, and on the other hand facilitate greater access to the radio spectrum for private outlets.
Under the leftist governments of the late Hugo Chavez and his successor Nicolas Maduro, there has been a deliberate and concerted effort to increase the plurality of voices and democratization of Venezuelan media, facilitating access to groups previously excluded.
These media laws created numerous national state-owned outlets and also helped foster an dramatic increase of grassroots outlets in radio, print, and television. Venezuela’s 1999 constitution guarantees freedom of expression and prohibits censorship of any kind.
The animosity shown toward public outlets by the opposition MUD coalition is not new. Shortly after their victory in parliamentary elections on Dec. 6, the right-wing coalition threatened the workers of the National Assembly Television station (ANTV) with closure and dismissal.
In response Venezuelan journalists held an emergency gathering to discuss how the outlet could be defended, participants also gathered signatures in support of ANTV.
Attacking public media outlets appears to be a priority for the region's right-wing politicians. In Argentina, newly elected President Mauricio Macri ordered the immediate suspension of the Senate's TV channel, Senado TV.
Macri has also publicly questioned whether Argentina will continue to collaborate with teleSUR.