Photo: Television Station Fined for Its Coverage of June Prison Riot
As the last remaining Venezuelan television network still able to critique President Hugo Chavez, Globovision covers stories other networks are afraid to or are now unable to cover. However, coverage of the deadly prison riot in June has landed them with a multi-million dollar fine from the Venezuelan government.
Globovision was handed a $2.1 million fine has been called “one more attack by a government that has only fear of freedom of expression” by the network majority owner, Guillermo Zuloaga.
The riot lasted 27 days and in the end, three people were killed in gunfights, which began as a result of a raid in an adjacent prison. Authorities say another four people were killed outside the prison, inmates who had escaped in the fighting.
The fine is a result of what Venezuela’s telecommunications regulator Pedro Maldonado referred as improper “editorial conduct” which included an “apology for crime,” causing anxiety amongst citizens, resulting in them feeling “hatred and intolerance” for their government.
Maldonado added that Globovision violated the country’s broadcast regulations when it repeatedly aired emotional interviews with relatives of the prisoners. He also stated that the fine was in part due to the network failing to air broadcasts of government officials sent out by state officials.
The $2.1 million fine is the equivalent of 7.5 percent of the channel’s gross revenue.