The head of a pro-opposition TV station in Venezuela said on Thursday he had been arrested at an airport over comments he made about President Hugo Chavez's government during an international media forum.
The move against Guillermo Zuloaga, president of Globovision network, follows the arrest of an opposition politician earlier this week and will fuel criticism that the Venezuelan government is increasingly stifling dissent.
Zuloaga told his channel that he was about to fly in his private jet to the Caribbean island of Bonaire from Punto Fijo in western Venezuela when officials detained him.
"I have no intention of leaving Venezuela, I was going to Bonaire for Easter Week," he said. "This is an aggression that has been coming since the Inter-American Press Association (IAPA). ... my comments are so innocuous."
Zuloaga, whose network has a long history of disputes with Chavez's government, spoke about what he said were restrictions on freedom of expression during the recent IAPA meeting in Aruba.
The National Assembly, which is dominated by Chavez supporters, called this week for an investigation of Zuloaga, and Attorney-General Luisa Ortega Diaz confirmed on Thursday that authorities were going ahead with that.
"They (the legislators) consider that the expressions made in an international forum against the President of the Republic are offensive and disrespectful to the head of state," she told private TV station Venevision.
Zuloaga said authorites were due to fly him back to Caracas from Punto Fijo.
The move against him comes three days after the jailing of a former state governor and presidential candidate, Oswaldo Alvarez Paz, who had accused Chavez's government of links to subversive groups in a TV interview.
Chavez says the government will not tolerate illegal incitement through the media or Internet, and accuses opponents of an increasingly desperate campaign against him in the run-up to a September legislative election.
ReutersGüncelleme Tarihi: 25 Mart 2010, 20:56