By Jeremy Morgan
Latin American Herald Tribune staff
CARACAS – The National Assembly announced that only the state television channel AN TV would be allowed to broadcast directly debates in the legislature.
The target of the ban would appear to be the private sector 24-hours all-news channel, Globovisión, which makes little or no secret of its disapproval of President Hugo Chávez and all that he stands for.
During last Thursday's second debate on enabling legislation for a referendum on lifting a ban on successive re-election, a Globovisión camera crew in the galley of the chamber broadcast images of Deputy Hugo Márquez using a laptop computer on his desk.
The camera crew was in the public gallery behind the legislators, meaning they were able to look over the deputy's shoulder and see what he was looking at on his computer screen.
This, it would appear, was something akin to salacious material depicting a woman with little or no clothing. The images duly went out live, Márquez unaware of the fact until he was alerted by fellow legislators.
During the debate, there had been an outburst from the president of the Assembly, Deputy Cilia Flores, who complained that Globovisión was not covering the proceedings properly. At the time, she claimed that it was presenting the debate as a discussion of "indefinite" re-election rather than constitutional change.
In the wake of events, however, it would now seem that Flores' criticism of the channel's coverage was sparked by the sudden intrusion of Márquez and what he was watching on his computer while a long list of legislators spoke, nearly all of them in favor.