The Associated Press
May 27, 2008
CARACAS, Venezuela -- A top aide to Hugo Chavez offered to resign Tuesday after he unilaterally decided to force Venezuela's privately-owned networks to pay to broadcast the president's speeches.
Information Minister Andres Izarra announced during a brief television appearance that he would submit his resignation because the decision "was made without consulting" with Chavez.
It was not immediately clear if Chavez would accept Izarra's resignation.
Television executives were outraged after Venezolana de Television - Venezuela's main state-run TV channel - announced earlier Tuesday that it would require private networks to pay US$200,000 (euro126,000) per hour for the right to broadcast Chavez's speeches.
Privately-owned channels had said they would legally challenge the measure.
"Venezolana de Television is a company that belongs to all Venezuelans, and because of that its services should be available to all Venezuelans," said Marcel Granier, director of the privately-owned channel Radio Caracas Television.