December 2010, Mark Weisbrot and Tara Ruttenberg
It is commonly reported in the international press, and widely believed, that the government of President Hugo Chávez controls the media in Venezuela. For example, writing about Venezuela’s September elections for the National Assembly, the Washington Post’s deputy editorial page editor and columnist, Jackson Diehl, referred to the Chávez “regime’s domination of the media...” In an interview on CNN, Lucy Morillon of Reporters Without Borders stated, “President Chávez controls most of the TV stations.” And on PBS in November 2010, former Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs Roger Noriega stated that the Venezuelan media is “virtually under the control of Chávez.” Such statements are made regularly in the major media and almost never challenged. However, it is clear from the data in this issue brief, based on household surveys over a 10-year period, that statements about the Venezuelan government “controlling” or “dominating” the media are not only exaggerated, but simply false.
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