As a former TV commentator and reporter for the Wall Street Journal and inevitable supporter of press freedom and human rights I can’t help but cheer at this news. It represents one upside of the confluence of new media, politics, business and technology. Sure stirs up debate on a bigger world stage - and that can't be bad for freedom.
When Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez felt the sting of attack by RCTV – The Observer, a news program on RCTV – a station that backs his opponents, he kicked it off the air. He discovered that he could get “his” police to stop the protest but not the station.
He’s been tangling with the station since a failed coup in 2002. This time the station kept on taping the program, “The Observer” and uploading it to YouTube. Just 14 hours ago, Chavez threatened to terminate other stations’ licenses.
Censorship supports YouTube’s growth as more Venezuelans rush to their site to see the news. Just like radio stations can podcasts and print journalists can blog, TV stations can continue to reach their audience - and probably expand it - on the many video-sharing sites.
What an exciting example for freedom of the media anywhere.
See a list of other countries that have banned YouTube, remembering the proliferating number of video-sharing sites they may also have to ban.