Sunday, December 03, 2006

Freedom of the press victorious in Venezuelan election

Oh, well, at least all the fired Petroleos de Venezuela workers who're here in Alberta won't be flocking back home now, so I guess there's an upside for somebody.

(Check out the AP's oblivious election wrap-up here: Chavez Wins Re-Election by Wide Margin.)

Telemundo: Venezuela Halts Transmission

Dec 3, 6:03 PM EST

CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) -- Officials identifying themselves as members of a state regulatory agency forced the U.S.-based Spanish-language TV network Telemundo to halt transmission Sunday of its presidential election coverage.

"We're surprised by this," said Pablo Iacub, a member of Telemundo's eight-person team, which arrived last week. "We only want to do our work," he said by telephone.

At least six people who identified themselves as members of the National Commission of Telecommunications (CONATEL), which regulates electronic media in Venezuela, arrived Sunday afternoon at the hotel from which Telemundo had been transmitting since Friday, said Iacub.

The officials said the network needed permission to transmit and lacking such could not, he said. Iacub said he was unaware of such a requirement but that the Telemundo journalists were accredited with Venezuela's national elections council.

Iacub said the Telemundo team asked how they could obtain permission and, after an hour, were told that they would not be able to transmit.

Telephone calls to Conatel offices seeking comment on the incident went unanswered.

Telemundo Communications Group is owned by NBC Universal Inc., which is controlled by General Electric Co. It claims to reach about 93 percent of Hispanic households in the U.S. and also has viewers in Mexico.

© 2006 The Associated Press.

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