Can We Call It "Tyranny" Yet?

by Pejman Yousefzadeh on January 24, 2010

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As long as I live, I shall never understand why there was ever any controversy about calling Hugo Chavez a dictator:

Venezuela President Hugo Chavez’s government ordered cable providers on Sunday to stop showing the popular television station RCTV, which had violated regulations requiring broadcasters to televise the socialist leader’s long speeches in their entirety.

The measure sent shudders among press freedom advocates and generated concerns in the Obama administration, which is frequently the target of Chavez’s barbs. RCTV has been a target of the government in the past. In 2007, the government declined to renew RCTV’s license to broadcast on the public airwaves, forcing the station onto cable.

“This is done without a judge’s order, without any administrative hearing,” Marcel Granier, director of RCTV, said by phone from Caracas. “In no democracy does this happen. Those in the government simply do not tolerate any medium that tells people how things really are.”

Shortly past midnight, cable providers took the 57-year-old station off the air after the station did not broadcast a Chavez speech at a pro-government rally held on Saturday. The state’s Bolivarian News Agency said seven stations were suspended for not complying with regulations.

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