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Venezuelan TV urges Chavez talks

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez
Hugo Chavez has been accused of stifling press freedom before

Venezuelan broadcaster Globovision has called for talks with leader Hugo Chavez over his threat to close it for criticising the government.

President Chavez told the station's bosses they should "reflect" on their criticism or they could be shut down.

But station executives said they were willing to "sit down and talk, like they do in civilized countries", with the president.

Mr Chavez has previously been accused of attacking press freedom.

Globovision is the last anti-Chavez channel left on the regular airwaves, Associated Press reported.

"The president should know that if he wants to talk, we're willing," Globovision director Alberto Federico Ravell said.

'Behave correctly'

Apart from threats from the president, the station has recently had to deal with a $2.3m fine for alleged unpaid taxes, its president being charged in an alleged fraud probe and an investigation into allegations linking the channel to an anti-government conspiracy.

Mr Ravell also said Mr Chavez personally called the station, threatening to close them down unless they "behave correctly".

"But what is behaving correctly? Not informing people?" Mr Ravell asked.

Mr Chavez has said there is freedom of expression in the country.

"The government has been tolerant not only with criticism, but with the offensive, the permanent aggression against the Venezuelan government," he told a regional summit last week.



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