In late May, I wrote about the case of Maracaibo’s ATEL Television and how CONATEL was actively meddling with its proposed sale to newspaper 6to. Poder.
In June, 6to. Poder’s owner Leocenis Garcia went to CONATEL and tried to start a hunger strike there. He went ahead with the strike elsewhere, but was forced to drop it days later. At the same time, Leocenis was also working on a plan B.
He recently announced that he reached a deal with another small TV station from Maracay called Nova TV to buy it and make it a national news channel to be called Sextovision.
Sadly for him, CONATEL won’t approve the new channel, and just like ATEL, they took Nova TV out of the cable operators’ grid. In a written statement, the media regulator justified its actions by saying it was simply applying the law, but Garcia responded by accusing CONATEL of “extortion”.
It’s too early to tell if this is an isolated case or a possible test stage for all future sales and purchases of media outlets – where a political filter could determine the suitability of possible owners. If that’s the case, only Boliburgueses will be allowed to own private media.
This is yet another piece of the process of “communicational hegemony” on the march today in Venezuela, even if its current head tries to somehow justify it (when he’s not too busy embarassing himself).