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Venezuela legislature restricts live media coverage

[JURIST] Venezuela's National Assembly [official website, in Spanish] has prohibited private television stations [Latin American Herald Times report] from presenting live coverage of its debates, according to reports printed Saturday. The restriction came after Globovision [media website, in Spanish] broadcast live video [Youtube video, in Spanish] of Deputy Hugo Marquez viewing images of women wearing bathing suits or less on a laptop computer during discussion of a constitutional amendment to abolish presidential term limits [JURIST report]. Only state channel AN TV [official website, in Spanish] will be allowed to broadcast live from legislative sessions.

In May 2007, Venezuelan Information Minister William Lara filed lawsuits [JURIST report] against media giant CNN and Globovision, alleging that the two stations presented false information concerning Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and that Globovision issued a call for Chavez's assassination. In August 2007, the Venezuelan Supreme Tribunal of Justice suspended an order [JURIST report] issued by the government's telecommunication commission requiring Radio Caracas Television to register as a "national audiovisual production service" or face shutdown after agreeing to hear a case on whether cable and satellite television channels are obligated to transmit government-mandated content. In July 2006, the Inter American Press Association claimed Chavez was silencing dissent [JURIST report] by prosecuting journalists under questionable circumstances.

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