2 Aug 2009

Radio stations being closed in Venezuela

7:51 am on 2 August 2009

Thirteen radio stations in Venezuela went off the air on Saturday.

The association of radio broadcasters said they stopped transmitting, after an announcement on Friday night by a government agency that 34 radio stations would be closed because they failed to comply with regulations.

Public works minister Diosdado Cabello said another 120 radio stations were being investigated for administrative irregularities.

He said the frequency of stations being shut would be transferred to new community broadcasters.

Since taking office in 1999, President Hugo Chavez has vastly expanded the number of publicly owned television and radio stations.

Some are directly owned or financed by the government, while others are operated by cooperatives and community groups.

Critics said that the closures infringe on freedom of speech.