Regular readers know I’ve long resisted calling Chavez’s government a dictatorship, and have criticized those who do. For all of the government’s evident, growing authoritarianism, three basic elements of a dictatorship seemed to be missing:
Well, you can strike the first one off that list, now that Prosecutor General Isaias Rodriguez has asked the National Telecommunications Council (Conatel) to investigate six TV stations and four newspapers for publishing leaks relating to the Danilo Anderson murder investigation and, much worse, instructed five of his own prosecutors to investigate those news organizations for “obstruction of justice.” (In my book, what they’re guilty of is more like “obstruction of obstruction of justice”!)
There are no two ways about it, this is the first clear cut instance of out-and-out, no-more-mister-nice-guy censorship in the Chavez era. We’re no longer talking about intimidation, harrassment, measures to encourage self-censorship…none of that. These guys are seeking a sweeping prior restraint order. By any definition, that’s censorship, pure and simple.
We’ve seen this coming for a long time. Now it’s here…
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