Six TV stations forced off air in Venezuela

Six TV stations forced off air in Venezuela

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez  participates in the march to commemorate the 52nd anniversary of the end of the dictatorship of Marcos Perez Jimenez in Caracas on Saturday. AFP

"We have just been taken off the air," said Gladys Zapiain, the communications director for RCTV. "There was no prior notification."

She said all Venezuelan cable operators had dropped RCTV and the other channels, arguing that they had failed to comply with a recent change in government regulations that obliges them to carry speeches by President Hugo Chavez, other officials as well as official government announcements.

These materials are considered government propaganda by Chavez critics and opponents.
It was not immediately clear if the timing of the move by cable operators had been directly influenced by the government.

On Saturday, RCTV refused to comply with new regulation for a second time.
That day, President Chavez addressed thousands of followers in western Caracas, demanding "absolute loyalty" and telling them he embodied the heart and soul of the Venezuelan people.

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