Keep Us Strong WikiLeaks logo

Currently released so far... 5408 / 251,287

Articles

Browse latest releases

Browse by creation date

Browse by origin

A B C D F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W Y Z

Browse by tag

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
QA
YM YI YE

Browse by classification

Community resources

courage is contagious

Viewing cable 10CARACAS179, Venevision Seeks "Balance" in News Coverage

If you are new to these pages, please read an introduction on the structure of a cable as well as how to discuss them with others. See also the FAQs

Understanding cables
Every cable message consists of three parts:
  • The top box shows each cables unique reference number, when and by whom it originally was sent, and what its initial classification was.
  • The middle box contains the header information that is associated with the cable. It includes information about the receiver(s) as well as a general subject.
  • The bottom box presents the body of the cable. The opening can contain a more specific subject, references to other cables (browse by origin to find them) or additional comment. This is followed by the main contents of the cable: a summary, a collection of specific topics and a comment section.
To understand the justification used for the classification of each cable, please use this WikiSource article as reference.

Discussing cables
If you find meaningful or important information in a cable, please link directly to its unique reference number. Linking to a specific paragraph in the body of a cable is also possible by copying the appropriate link (to be found at theparagraph symbol). Please mark messages for social networking services like Twitter with the hash tags #cablegate and a hash containing the reference ID e.g. #10CARACAS179.
Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
10CARACAS179 2010-02-12 16:04 2011-01-24 21:09 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Caracas
VZCZCXRO2720
OO RUEHAG RUEHAO RUEHNG RUEHROV RUEHRS RUEHSL RUEHSR
DE RUEHCV #0179/01 0431607
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 121602Z FEB 10
FM AMEMBASSY CARACAS
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 0455
INFO EU MEMBER STATES COLLECTIVE IMMEDIATE
WESTERN HEMISPHERIC AFFAIRS DIPL POSTS IMMEDIATE
RHEHAAA/NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE
RHMFISS/HQ USSOUTHCOM MIAMI FL IMMEDIATE
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 CARACAS 000179 
 
SENSITIVE 
SIPDIS 
AMEMBASSY BERLIN PASS TO AMCONSUL DUSSELDORF 
AMEMBASSY BERLIN PASS TO AMCONSUL LEIPZIG 
AMEMBASSY ATHENS PASS TO AMCONSUL THESSALONIKI 
AMEMBASSY BRIDGETOWN PASS TO AMEMBASSY GRENADA 
AMEMBASSY OTTAWA PASS TO AMCONSUL QUEBEC 
AMEMBASSY BRASILIA PASS TO AMCONSUL RECIFE 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 2035/02/12 
TAGS: PGOV PREL VE
SUBJECT: Venevision Seeks "Balance" in News Coverage 

CLASSIFIED BY: DUDDY, AMBASSADOR, DOS, AMB; REASON: 1.4(B), (D) 

1.        (C)  Summary.  Ambassador Duddy met with representatives of Venezuela's largest non-subscription media group, the Cisneros Group (Venevision), on February 10 to discuss the current status of freedom of expression in the country.   The media conglomerate, owned by Gustavo Cisneros, claims its news channel Venevision provides neutral, balanced and objective news coverage.  Some in the opposition allege the station has made backroom agreements with the government and self-censors content to avoid government retaliation.  End Summary. 

--------------------------------------------- ---------------------- ---------- 
Venevision Claims Neutrality, Denies Pact/Self-Censorship 
--------------------------------------------- ---------------------- ---------- 
 
2.         (C)   XXXXXXXXXXXX met with Ambassador Duddy and DCM Caulfield at Venevision television headquarters in Caracas on February 10.  Venevision is the largest remaining private, free-to-air television station, with a 60% national audience share.  Bardasano said that due to the highly polarized political atmosphere in the country, Venevision strives for objective and neutral news coverage.  He said the station's coverage tends to be approximately 60% opposition and 40% pro-government by content, with the ultimate goal of achieving a 50/50 balance. 
 
3.       (C)XXXXXXXXXXXX denied widespread allegations that a pact 
had been made between Chavez and Cisneros during a June 18, 2004 
meeting hosted by the Carter Center in Caracas to moderate Venevision's editorial line in exchange for remaining on air. (Note:  Chavez had earlier alleged that Cisneros and Venevision 
helped to instigate and prolong the 2002 coup attempt through Venevision's coverage of the anti-government demonstrations and lack of coverage of the pro-Chavez demonstrations that eventually led to his return to office.  Marcel Granier, the owner of RCTV, has publicly alleged that Chavez decided to close Venevision's competitor, RCTV, during that meeting.  End Note.)  Venevision executives also denied self-censorship in their news coverage, although they acknowledged that they walk a fine editorial line in order to present objective and balanced news coverage.  According to XXXXXXXXXXXX, "It is very difficult here and the (political) skin is very sensitive, for both sides."  He added, "We will continue our balanced approach... We report both sides and then let the viewer decide. This is very delicate work."  XXXXXXXXXXXX also noted that investigative journalism was not practiced by most journalists in the country. 

--------------------------------------------- --- 
It's RCTV's Fault that They Were Closed 
--------------------------------------------- ---

4.       (C)  XXXXXXXXXXXX claimed that Venevision has always provided moral support for competitor RCTV International.  However, they stressed that Venevision had spent "two painful years" gathering documentation to comply with new government regulations established pursuant to the June 12, 2000 Organic Law on Telecommunications  and that they had done the necessary work to successfully renew their license in 2007 for a five-year period.  According to XXXXXXXXXXXX, Venevision had to 
CARACAS 00000179  002 OF 002 
"strictly comply with the (new) law, and we presented our documentation - even opposition-oriented Globovision complied with the new requirements.  We had numerous discussions with XXXXXXXXXXXX  about what to turn in under the new law and how to renew their license."  (Note: RCTV's license was not renewed in 2007,
resulting in massive street protests in support of the station. 
End Note.) 

---------------------------------- 
And If Globo Should Close? 
---------------------------------- 

5.       (C)  Venevision executives and the Ambassador discussed the future of freedom of expression in Venezuela should RCTV and Globovision eventually be closed by Chavez.  (Note:  The government 
regulatory agency Conatel recently pressured local cable operators to remove RCTV from their programming for allegedly violating new regulations that classified RCTV as a national audiovisual producer and thereby required it to carry mandatory broadcasts, including President Chavez' speeches.  Globovision and its owner are currently subject to numerous regulatory and criminal investigations; see septel for rumors regarding Globovision's sale. 
End Note.)  
The Ambassador reminded Venevision executives that should Globovision be closed, Venevision would have to carry the banner of freedom of expression as the largest remaining private free-to-air TV media group in the country and the only one with independent content. 

6.       (C)  XXXXXXXXXXXX told the Ambassador that it would be difficult for Venevision without Globovision.   According to  XXXXXXXXXXXX, "Should Globovision fall, a huge alarm bell will sound in Venezuela." XXXXXXXXXXXX accused the government of "economic strangulation" of free-to-air networks, noting that Venevision 
loses on average five hours of publicity every day due to mandatory government programming.  "It is a strategy of slow death," said XXXXXXXXXXXX.  (Note:  Free-to-air broadcasters are required to carry government productions, commercials, and speeches free of charge. 
End Note.) 

7.      (C)  Comment:   Venevision's strategy is to stay alive even if it means working hard to avoid antagonizing the government.  In this way, they insist non-government views will have a chance to reach the public.  As the GBRV continues its drive to marginalize, moderate, or silence any media not under its control, Venevision's management understands that even cautious Venevision could become a target. 
DUDDY