Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Chavez-TV in Colombia -- Jammed or not Jammed?

I got this from Boz's page, seems like there is some controversy over whether or not reports about Chavez' new new Telesur channel was blocked or not by Colombian authorities, due to its inflammatory content.

The post references this Nuevo Herald Article, which says that the Comision Nacional De Television (CNTV) stopped a local public channel Canal Capital from re-transmitting Telesur's signal in Colombia.

Boz describes CNTV as 'Colombia's version' of the FCC, which in the U.S. regulates and sets the policy for broadcast signals, and regulates and monitors broadcast content on open Television.

That is a fair comparison, since CNTV is commissioned as an autonomous body, governed by a five person board, which licenses and controls the airwaves in the country. But, in some ways it also functions like the Corporation For Public Broadcast, CPB, in that it is actively involved in providing technical assistance and financing for public television stations, at the community, regional, and national levels. As an example they provided funding for financing improvements to Colombia's Publically owned channels like Inravisión

It looks like Canal Capital, falls well within the regulatory scope of CNTV. (any Civil Code Lawyers out there -- Please chime in!!) In the boiler-plate contractual language on their site, they claim they are 'vinculados' (linked to)the 'Comisión Nacional de Televisión.' So basically, Canal Capital is subject to CDTV's rules, regulations, and policies: i. as a TV Station broadcasting over public airwaves, ii. as a chartered public television broadcaster part of Colombia's public TV system, and iii. as a recipient of CDTV funds.

The issue with Canal Capital, according to CNTV's press release is that this local station had applied for financing in order to be re-transmitted via a new Satellite uplink to all the county. The funding has been approved, but the project has not been completed, according to what the Comission says. It says nothing about regulating the content of what the station shows, and does not seem to say they are barred from re-transmitting Telesur's signal. As the Venezuelan government itself admits, Telesur's signal will be shown on some of the regional stations that fall under CNTV's jurisdiction.

So what is the truth?

On its face this is not a decision made by the executive branch of the Colombian government. The decision comes from CNTV, an autonomous and independent government body, with only two out of its five members appointed by the government. Its decisions apply to every single open TV station operating over Colombian airwaves, and the Colombian legislature invested it with the power ' to 'prohibit any programs that violate the law or threaten public order' subject to the 'freedoms found in the National Constitution.' But, in a narrower sense, this comes down to the oversight board responsible for Public Television in Colombia, not allowing a public station within its system to broadcast its signal nationally, on equipment the board provided as part of its mission to assist public television. The content in question, comes from a nationally owned TV Station of a neighboring country with an agenda that is anti-Colombian. It can clearly order one if its own stations to not broadcast any content that it choses to. Censorship would only become an issue if it was stopping a private broadcaster to do so, and it is not doing that.

But the basic question remains. Could it be that Canal Capital's failure to be uplinked to the nation-wide Satellite, was done deliberately, since it was going to carry Telesur broadcasts? Is it part of a larger and older dispute between a National oversight board and a local station controlled by city hall? Is this just a bureaucratic snafu, that the Venezuelan's are purposefully mis-characterizing to get press? A combination of all three. Whatever the ultimate truth, the bottom line is that the press, particularly the Latin American press, are making a mountain out of a mole-hill, and reporting the story badly.


boz said...

First off, I'm very impressed by the level of detail you went into on this research.

Second, a note on "jamming" vs. blocking rebroadcasting, because those are two very different actions and that was part of my argument.

Jamming refers to using a device to block or scramble a signal. Cuba does this to Radio Marti. As far as I'm aware, there is no such device being employed in Colombia against any major media outlet (and the use of such a jamming device would be censorship). Telesur is still available to the few lucky people who have sat dishes and want to watch.

The question you raise about rebroadcasting is a legitimate debate. You say it could be censoring of Telesur or a bureaucratic screwup. I'll offer a third option, it could also be a domestic policy dispute between the federal government and the mayor of Bogota. Whatever the reason, Telesur is working this story as best they can to get publicity.

A.M. Mora y Leon said...

C'mon Boz, we all know what they are doing. Why the obsession with technical details and words, rather than results? Their resolute actions speak so loud I cannot hear a word they are saying.

'Thought & Humor' said...

We work like a horse.
We eat like a pig.
We like to play chicken.
You can get someone's goat.
We can be as slippery as a snake.
We get dog tired.
We can be as quiet as a mouse.
We can be as quick as a cat.
Some of us are as strong as an ox.
People try to buffalo others.
Some are as ugly as a toad.
We can be as gentle as a lamb.
Sometimes we are as happy as a lark.
Some of us drink like a fish.
We can be as proud as a peacock.
A few of us are as hairy as a gorilla.
You can get a frog in your throat.
We can be a lone wolf.
But I'm having a whale of a time!

You have a riveting web log
and undoubtedly must have
atypical & quiescent potential
for your intended readership.
May I suggest that you do
everything in your power to
honor your encyclopedic/omniscient
Designer/Architect as well
as your revering audience.

Please remember to never
restrict anyone's opportunities
for ascertaining uninterrupted
existence for their quintessence.

There is a time for everything,
a season for every activity
under heaven. A time to be
born and a time to die. A
time to plant and a time to
harvest. A time to kill and
a time to heal. A time to
tear down and a time to
rebuild. A time to cry and
a time to laugh. A time to
grieve and a time to dance.
A time to scatter stones
and a time to gather stones.
A time to embrace and a
time to turn away. A time to
search and a time to lose. A
time to keep and a time to
throw away. A time to tear
and a time to mend. A time
to be quiet and a time to
speak up. A time to love
and a time to hate. A time
for war and a time for peace.

Best wishes for continued ascendancy,

P.S. One thing of which I am sure is
that the common culture of my youth
is gone for good. It was hollowed out
by the rise of ethnic "identity politics,"
then splintered beyond hope of repair
by the emergence of the web-based
technologies that so maximized and
facilitated cultural choice as to make
the broad-based offerings of the old
mass media look bland and unchallenging
by comparison."

'Thought & Humor' by Howdy
CyberHumor, CyberThought
CyberRiddles for your divertissement!!!

Anonymous said...

I would recommend seeing Jim Shultz's blog on Bolivia for real coverage on the Bolivian situation. I seriously doubt you will find anything of substance here.

Boli-Nica said...

^^^^ Hey Sparkie,

I would edit you, but I need a cheap laugh now and then.

Anonymous said...

boli-whatever, you are funny. Your ignorance and amazing low grasp of reality force me back here, time and time again, I don't have to watch Ann Coulter anymore. I guess I'm just too amused by the level of ignorance you possess. Your blog is a great example of what a perfect conservative idiot thinks in his/her obstuse mind. Specially one like you who kisses up to the corporate masters because your inferiority complex is way too strong to control. Grow up sports boy, stick to sports, your tribal instincts serve you better there instead of contaminating the discussion with your political pseudoanalysis.

You must be one of those mestizos who just hates the indigenous part of your heritage. It doesn't help any that you might look white too, but unfortunately for us, you still have to prove something. Deep inside, you truly feel you are less, because you are not really as white as you wished you were.

Grow up and learn ignorant, that it's OK to be non-white...

Anonymous said...

I just read your comment on Jim Shultz's blog...

...Some of us here have blood relatives, who might end up on the wrong side of your little friend the Mallku.

You have confirmed what I suspected all along Boli-whatever, you are a mestizo who hates having indigenous blood. You probably think you are white, I bet!! Your inferiority complex comes through loud and clear through the nonesense you spread here. You are part of the problem in Bolivia without even being there. You are (or at least, desperately try to be) part of the elite, the "white" crowd who feels superior and look at those "indios" with disdain, with fear, because deep inside you, you know you are low, your ethics are invisible and you are afraid. Your passion for sports makes total sense because you display that tipical tendency to associate and adopt fervently the party line, simply because you have the same shirt color, in this case, skin color. You are pathetic. I feel sorry for your scared litle mind.

Anonymous said...

¡Qué temporada!
Roberto Iza Valdesmercadolibre chile

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Iza Roberto said...
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