Crackdown

Chavez To Punish 'Media Crimes'

The government of Hugo Chavez is moving to create a law that would punish "media crimes" with prison sentences. The proposed law comes on the heels of the closure of 32 radio stations and two television stations in Venezuela, all part of a new push to "silence critics," according to a U.S. intelligence report. Chavez supporters attacked an opposition television studio earlier this month, throwing tear gas into the building and injuring three people. In another incident, 12 journalists were sent to the hospital after being attacked for handing out pamphlets. Experts worry Chavez will set a bad example to the leaders of Ecuador, Bolivia, and Nicaragua, over whom he has great influence. Ecuador's president was only a few days behind Chavez in closing radio stations for small infractions.