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Volume 456: debated on Thursday 1 February 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether her Department has made an assessment of the possible effect on freedom of the press in Venezuela of the decision of the Venezuelan Government not to renew broadcast licences for television stations. (111617)

It is important that decisions of this kind follow established procedure and clear legal guidelines and do not unlawfully impinge on the independent media’s right to express their opinions freely. The legal position surrounding the Venezuelan Government’s stated decision not to renew the licence of Radio Caracas Television is unclear, but widespread concerns have been expressed about its impact on the media’s future scope to operate free from Government pressure or censorship. We hope that the Venezuelan Government will work to ensure that press freedom is fully protected.