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Last Updated: Wednesday, 20 June 2007, 19:04 GMT 20:04 UK
Venezuelan TV may air from Mexico
Marcel Granier (27 May 2007)
Marcel Granier said he had "good friends" in Mexican TV
The head of an opposition-aligned TV station in Venezuela which was taken off air by the government has said he may broadcast programmes from Mexico.

Marcel Granier, the head of RCTV - whose licence was not renewed on 27 May - said he would broadcast to Venezuelans by any means possible.

He said he had "good friends" in Mexican broadcasting.

President Hugo Chavez replaced RCTV, which in 2002 backed a coup attempt against him, with a state-funded TV.

"Our commitment... is to re-establish that contact [with Venezuelans], either from Venezuela or from abroad, by any means possible, by cable, by satellite, by internet," Mr Granier told reporters in Mexico City, according to the Associated Press.

'Populist threat'

Thousands of people across the country protested on the streets of the capital, Caracas, last month after Mr Chavez's decision not to renew Radio Caracas TV's licence to broadcast on a terrestrial frequency.

Police, government supporters and protesters clashed violently.

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez waves to supporters during a rally in Caracas (2 June 2007)
Mr Chavez's supporters rallied - but so did RCTV allies

There were also demonstrations in favour of RCTV losing its licence.

Mr Granier spoke to reporters after a meeting with former Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar, who criticised an "alarming" rise in populist governments in Latin America, and the threat he believed they would pose to democracy.

Mr Aznar did not name any particular leaders, but President Chavez's administration has been criticised by its opponents for being populist.

RCTV and rights groups said Mr Chavez was limiting freedom of expression when the station was closed down.

Employees of the station, Venezuela's most watched channel, embraced and chanted "freedom", before bowing their heads in tearful prayer, during the final minutes on air.

Radio Caracas TV openly called for Mr Chavez to be removed from power during a failed coup attempt in 2002.

Mr Chavez has said private stations like RCTV have since actively tried to destabilise his government.

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