Venezuelan agency seizes radio station equipment

AP News
Posted: Nov 04, 2011 7:10 PM
Venezuelan agency seizes radio station equipment

Venezuela's broadcast regulatory agency announced more confiscations of equipment from radio stations suspected of operating without licenses Friday, a day after seizures at three other stations.

Enrique Quintana, an operations manager for the National Telecommunications Commission, said the radio stations Titan 98.5 FM and Coquivacoa 102.7 FM in the western state of Zulia have been broadcasting illegally, giving authorities the right to seize equipment.

"This is part of an initiative implemented by the commission nationwide to control illegal telecommunications services," Quintana said in a statement.

The move came a day after soldiers seized broadcasting equipment from three other radio stations in Zulia.

The radio stations have 15 days to appeal the commission's decisions, Quintana said.

Officials at the commission did not answer telephone calls seeking additional details about the investigation.

Last year, President Hugo Chavez's government revoked the licenses of 34 radio stations, saying most of them failed to update their registrations or allowed their concessions to expire.

Last month, the telecommunications commission fined the opposition-aligned television channel Globovision more than $2 million for its coverage of a deadly prison rebellion that became a political headache for Chavez.

Press freedom groups have accused the government of trying to restrict and intimidate critical media outlets.

Chavez denies it, saying that many newspapers and broadcasters are strongly critical of his government and noting that