Press freedom group condemns Venezuela's Chavez

An international press freedom group on Thursday criticized President Hugo Chavez for deciding not to renew the broadcast license of an opposition-aligned TV station instead of putting the issue to Venezuelan voters in a referendum. In a letter sent to Chavez and released to the media, the Paris-based Reporters Without Borders said Chavez's decision last month not to renew the broadcast license for Radio Caracas Television, or RCTV, when it expires on May 28 would severely limit "editorial pluralism." In a televised interview days before December's presidential election, Chavez said he would consider asking voters whether the government should block certain channels from renewing broadcast licenses. "During the campaign that preceded your re-election, you suggested that renewing the frequencies of some broadcasters, among them RCTV, could be put to a referendum. Why then unilaterally make the decision to revoke the country's most watched broadcaster?" read the letter from Reporters Without Borders.