I just saw the following news article on CNN. It looks like Venezuala’s America-hating Hugo Chavez just closed down unfavorable radio stations.
I saw a quote recently that said something about how the first things oppressive regimes go after are the radio stations, because what is said on the air is more difficult to control than printed media and word of mouth. I would suspect, then, that free broadcast radio is (in modern times) the pinnacle of free speech.
Dozens of radio stations shut down in Venezuela
updated 6:00 a.m. EDT, Sat August 1, 2009
(CNN) — At least 34 private radio stations in Venezuela were closed indefinitely Friday, and 206 more were at risk of being shut down, a government official said.
The stations were closed for various reasons, including expired permits and operation by unauthorized personnel, said Diosdado Cabello, minister of Public Works and Housing.
“Freedom of expression is not the most sacred freedom,” Cabello was quoted as saying by CNN affiliate Globovision.
Cabello said the closings affected at least 11 states nationwide and 206 additional stations would shut down in the coming days.
Most station owners said the closures were politically motivated. The government of leftist President Hugo Chavez has cracked down on the media.
A “Special Bill Against Media Crimes” was introduced before the National Assembly this week, Cabello said, adding that he hoped the bill would pass.
The government has also heightened its battle against Globovision, the only critical private broadcaster in the nation. In June, it launched a fifth investigation into the network.
In early June, officials arrived at Globovision to accuse the station of not paying about $2.3 million in taxes for certain advertisements it aired in 2002 and 2003.
A few hours before, the government raided the home of Globovision President Guillermo Zuloaga, an avid hunter, to see whether he had killed any protected animals. It was the second raid on Zuloaga’s home in two weeks.
“This is something to try to scare Globovision, to silence Globovision, something they are not going to achieve,” Zuloaga said at the time.
RCTV, another independent station that criticized Chavez, lost its broadcast license two years ago. It had to go off the public airwaves and transmit solely on cable.
Other TV stations hung on to their frequencies by adjusting their editorial line, the Reporters Without Borders press organization said in its 2009 World Report.
Venezuelan officials have repeatedly denied any political motives. Chavez has labeled as “terrorists” any TV station owners who criticize the government.
Great to think it wouldn’t happen here! Or could it?
You may or may not know that one of the (many) disturbing policies suggested by the incoming Obama administration and the democrats was a new kind of “fairness doctrine” aimed at radio programming.
Radio programs are often syndicated. This is how you could live in Arizona or Michigan and get “America’s Top 40” or “Dr. Demento” out of California when you were a kid. It’s how you can hear NPR programming across the country on your local station, and why radio talk show hosts like Rush Limbaugh, George Noory, or Glenn Beck can be heard nationwide. It’s why you’ve heard of Dr. Laura or Shock-Jock Howard Stern.
The concept isn’t that unique … Television is also syndicated. There are giant broadcast networks that predate the Cable Channels. Saturday Night Live would only be available to residents of New York if that weren’t the case, and only people in southern California would have seen BayWatch, 90210 or One Tree Hill.
Not really a bad thing, right? Local stations still insert their local advertisement for local businesses, local news still airs.
Over the years, people of sure political persuasion have gravitated toward one form of transmitted media or the other. Conservatives and Republicans largely listen to radio broadcasts, and Liberals and Democrats largely follow what comes out of Hollywood or shoots out of their television. While some might point to some old-timer or nostalgic reason, another argument may be that hard working Americans tend to not have the option of watching television while working. Whatever the case, Conservatives generally get their news and opinion-entertainment from radio shows like Glenn Beck or Dr. Laura, and Liberals generall get their news from comedy shows like SNL or The Daily Show. Not trying to pick on anyone, but it’s pretty much the truth.
The wider availability of radio, along with the predominance of ‘conservative talk’ shows has long troubled the liberal illuminati. Joe-Bob Farmer, who lives 60 miles from the nearest bottled water vendor can usually pick up a handful of radio stations when television isn’t an option. I live in an actual town, for example, and to get “local” television here, we have to subscribe to a satellite service … but i can easily pick up four good talk radio stations and a dozen music providers.
In order to offensively insert their agenda into the minds of Rural America, the liberal illuminati needed to take out the existing feed and make their own flow more accessible. Increasing television coverage would be expensive, but newer digital technologies were capable of delivering signal at greater distances with less power. Solution number one was to sell the public on the “need” for a switchover from older analog broadcast systems to the newer digital systems, and part of that solution was to mandate the switchover – leaving providers with no choice. The town where i live recently gained 9 television stations (nearly all are Public Broadcasting). “Mission accomplished”. Rural America now has access to the filthy softcore porn, inappropriate language and mass-marketing that had helped undermine urban america decades before. But PBS is safe, right? Unfortunately, the Obama administration decided that local PBS stations would lose their funding if they aired religious programming because a small portion of the funding for Public Broadcasting comes from taxpayers (despite 81% of American adults identifying themselves as members of some organized religion – 77% being “Christian” according to the same 2001 poll), so anything that smacks of religion or religious values cannot be aired on PBS, while shows and documentaries promoting homosexuality are promoted.
So what to do about the steady stream of syndicated right-wing programs? The answer was found in the exploitation of “minority groups”.
Some politicians (pushed by activists) crunched some numbers and found that there’s not a whole lot of minority-owned radio. Rather than trying to determine why (it makes sense, for example, that a group that makes up 2% of the population would not have more than 2% of the radio stations, right?), they proudly announced that “the reason why” there wasn’t a lot of ‘minority radio’ was that all the “Big Networks” (kinda like “Big Oil”, “Big Auto Companies”, “Big Businesses”, “Big Religion” …) took up all the radio bandwidth.
Excuse me for saying this, but [bad word]!! Eliminating analog television freed up a whole lot of the spectrum, and in very few places was the spectrum already over-burdened in specific localities. Not that that matters … the whole story is pretty weak anyway.
So welcome “localism” and “fairness doctrine”. The idea that the mere existence of syndicated “network” radio prohibits minority radio from existing. The FCC created a “diversity” group (made up of the most militant of affirmative-action and opposition groups, but which isn’t diverse enough to include straight people, white people, religious people, families, etc). Congress also voted in favor of the “Fairness Doctrine”, which many suspect will be a ‘back door’ to seizing control of radio stations and disbanding networks which currently carry content unfavorable to the liberal agenda.
As it now stands, and with the direction things seem to be going, pornography has more legal protection than conservative talk radio. When you consider the administration that launched this attack is the same one that strong-armed and intimidated smaller broadcasters during the election from airing an unfavorable (but truthful) ad about Obama’s anti 2nd Amendment stance, it’s pretty clear to see that unless someone can get some protections legislated, the United States may be losing a vital pillar of Free Speech.
sources (accessed 08/01/2009):