Venezuela govt takes share in anti-Chavez TV-report

* Globovision one of few opposition voices on airwaves

* Chavez has increased pressure on the news network

CARACAS, Dec 7 (BestGrowthStock) – Venezuela’s government on Monday
took control of a fifth of shares in Globovision, an opposition
television network opposed to President Hugo Chavez, the state
news agency said.

Banking authorities began liquidating a company holding 20
percent of the privately held news network’s shares on Monday,
the government’s Official Gazette said. News agency AVN said
the liquidation put the shares in control of the government.

It was not clear if the government planned to hold on to
its stake in Globovision or sell it on. The 20 percent share
would likely not be enough for the government to affect
editorial content at the station by naming new board members,
but would give it a presence at shareholders meetings.

Chavez has in the past threatened to close Globovision,
which has a strong editorial line against his socialist
policies and is seen by its supporters as a bastion of
opposition to the many pro-government television stations.

In 2007, Chavez angered media freedoms groups and many of
his own supporters by refusing to renew the concession for
RCTV, the country’s favorite channel known for a diet of soaps
and news. The station appeared to favor a short-lived coup
against him in 2002.

Globovision has already been weakened by government
scrutiny. Two of its main investors, Guillermo Zuloaga and
Nelson Mezerhane, have fled to the United States to avoid
criminal charges against them. Chavez last month accused
Zuloaga of plotting to have him killed, charges the businessman
vehemently denied. [ID:nN23125523]

Mezerhane also owned a bank called Banco Federal, which the
government seized in June citing cash flow problems. The
government has since sold of many of Mezerhane’s assets to pay
back the banks customers.

The liquidation of Sindicato Avila, which was linked to
Banco Federal and holds the shares apparently being taken by
the government, will be carried out by Venezuela’s bank deposit
guarantee fund.

(Reporting by Frank Jack Daniel, Editing by Sandra Maler)

Venezuela govt takes share in anti-Chavez TV-report