Caracas: Venezuelan regulators shut down four radio stations on Friday for allegedly operating without licenses, including one run by a brother of a state governor on the outs with President Hugo Chavez.
The four stations all operated in the eastern state of Monagas, the National Telecommunications Commission said in a statement.
One of them is owned by a brother of Monagas Governor Jose Briceno, who charged that the government took the action in retribution for his recent criticism of some leaders of Chavez`s party.
But the Venezuelan Broadcast Industry Chamber, which in the past has criticised the closings of some other radio stations, said it supported the shutdown of these latest stations because they were operating illegally. Its statement said the broadcast regulatory agency`s measures were "in defence of service providers that operate legally”.
The chamber, which represents more than 400 broadcasters in Venezuela, has for years complained of unlicensed radio stations that interfere with the signals of properly registered stations.
Enza Carbone, the chamber`s president, told state television that the organization has supported regulators` shutdowns of more than 50 unlicensed stations over the past 10 months.
The telecommunications commission said the four stations will be able to appeal the decision.
Briceno`s falling out with Chavez`s party came this month after the governor accused National Assembly president Diosdado Cabello of trying to seize control of the governor`s office.
Leaders of Chavez`s United Socialist Party of Venezuela suspended Briceno from the party. Chavez backed that decision, calling the governor a "traitor”.