Venezuela's the hemisphere's most open society. America's pales by comparison. Free expression is cherished. It's constitutionally mandated.
Venezuela's Law of Social Responsibility affirms it. It does so without censorship. It promotes responsible programming and journalism.
It respects civil and human rights. It advances cultural values. It encourages active citizen participation.
It tolerates dissent. It enforces acceptable media standards. Violators face fines. Promoting coups, war, public disorder, crime, or other socially disruptive acts risks temporary or longer-term license suspensions.
Venezuelan media giants challenge the law. They do so irresponsibly. Sometimes they go too far. Doing so is lawless. It compromises national security.
During Chavez's tenure, Venezuelan media changed dramatically. In 1998, broadcasting included 331 commercial FM stations.
Eleven public access ones operated. So did 36 private television broadcasters and eight public ones.
Chavez encouraged free and open communication. Operations expanded. By April 2012, radio stations included 499 private ones, 83 public access operators, and 247 community ones.