CNN’s Spanish-language TV network was forced off the air Wednesday by the government of Venezuela after being accused of waging a negative “media campaign” against the country.
The National Telecommunications Commission (Conatel) ordered the “immediate suspension” of CNN broadcasts nationwide, following Foreign Affairs Minister Delcy Rodriguez’ warning that the network was making “serious” unfounded allegations.
Conatel also announced it was looking into fining the network for biased reporting.
In a Feb. 6 broadcast, the network featured an investigative piece about the existence in Venezuela of a highly lucrative international passport trafficking ring.
The revelations were based on information from a former legal attache at Venezuela’s embassy in Iraq, Misael Lopez, who the government says is far from being a credible source.
Conatel said CNN failed to sufficiently back up its revelations, which included allegations that the ring sold 173 passports to Arab nationals who links to the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah, with the consent of Venezuela’s Vice President Tareck El Aissami.
According to Rodriguez, Lopez, who she described as the “star witness,” was let go for committing serious crimes, including pretending to be the ambassador in order to withdraw money from the embassy’s bank accounts in Iraq, and sexually harassing a member of the staff. Enditem