May 22, 2007

Vivanco gets it

Katy says: Human Rights Watch came out with a statement today blasting the Chávez government for shutting down RCTV, Venezuela's oldest and most critical TV network.

One of the report's strong points is that it doesn't deny the state's "right" to control the airwaves. Rather, it blasts the government for not even pretending to grant RCTV due process of law. As José Miguel Vivanco, Americas director at Human Rights Watch, sardonically put it, “the government’s proposal to democratize the airwaves sounds great in theory, but shutting down broadcasters for their political views is not the way to do it.”

HRW notes that "no procedure was established to enable RCTV to present evidence and arguments in its favor; the criteria on which the decision was based were not established clearly beforehand, nor was there any application or selection process allowing RCTV to submit an application for continuation of its concession."

HRW also points out that the justification for shutting down the station came months after the decision was announced, that it ignored the arguments RCTV had made in its own defense, and that so far, neither the network nor any of its representatives have been convicted of any wrongdoing in any court of law.

José Miguel Vivanco and HRW continue to stick up for Venezuelans' rights, speaking out clearly and succinctly on the ongoing deterioration of the country's human rights situation. I strongly recommend re-visiting their report on Chávez's move to pack the Supreme Court. Or you can check out its entire page on Venezuela - it's loaded with good information.

Quico notes: Psssh...Vivanco. Another one who didn't get the memo about why you can't judge the revolution "through reference to the procedural mechanics of liberal democracy."