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Argentina, Venezuela plan regional CNN rival

BUENOS AIRES — Argentina and Venezuela intend to create a state-run South American TV news network that will compete with international nets including CNN.

The pact was signed Wednesday by Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and Argentinian President Nestor Kirchner. The venture is already being called CNN Bolivariana by the local press.

State-owned broadcasters Canal 7 in Argentina and Venezuela’s Venezolana de Television (VTV), also known as Canal 8, will contribute to the project.

“It is good news, because we have to break with the hegemony of the big international television networks,” Chavez said at the two-day Mercosur summit in Puerto Iguazu, Argentina, after signing the deal. Venezuela wants to become an associate member of Mercosur, a trade bloc comprising Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay.

The accord constitutes another step toward freedom of communication, Chavez added. “We only see on television what the owners of CNN, for example, want us to see and what the other international television networks want us to see.”

Further details about the agreement or plans for carriage and programming were not available.

Most international nets operate cable channels in Latin America, including the BBC, CNN and sister feevee CNN en Espanol as well as Fox and Sony Entertainment Television.

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