Cable channel faces disciplinary proceedings from government after report on alleged sale of fake passports
A view of a screen showing a TV guide excluding CNN En Español in Caracas, Venezuela, on Feb. 15. Photo: Miguel Gutierrez/EFE/ZUMA Press
CARACAS, Venezuela—The government on Wednesday took off the air CNN En Español, one of the country’s most popular cable channels, following the U.S.-based broadcaster’s report on the alleged sale of fake passports by the country’s top officials.
The channel disappeared from all national cable providers minutes after the media regulator said it launched disciplinary proceedings against CNN en Español for “direct aggression against the peace and democratic stability of Venezuelan people.”
For many Venezuelans, CNN en Español had become the last independent source of news about their country, as the government steadily bought out, shut down or starved local media of resources.
“CNN stands by our network’s reporting and our commitment to truth and transparency,” the broadcaster said in a statement following the ban. “CNN en Español will continue to fulfil its responsibility to the Venezuelan public by offering our live signal on YouTube free of charge.”
Earlier this week, it was the only Spanish-language TV station in Venezuela to report on the U.S. sanctions against the country’s powerful vice president, Tareck El Aissami, for alleged drug trafficking. CNN En Español also implicated Mr. El Aissami last week in the fraudulent sale of passports to Middle Eastern citizens with links to terrorism.
Mr. El Aissami denied all allegations against him.