* Radio stations to be pulled after 34 closed in August
* Critics say hits free speech, government says democratic
* Anti-Chavez TV network in the spotlight over coup rumor
CARACAS, Sept 5 Venezuela will pull the plug on
29 more radio stations, a top official in President Hugo
Chavez's government said on Saturday, just weeks after dozens
of other outlets were closed in a media clampdown.
Infrastructure Minister Diosdado Cabello closed 34 radio
stations in July, saying the government was "democratizing"
media ownership. Critics say the move limits freedom of
expression and has taken critical voices off the airwaves.
The powerful Chavez ally has threatened to close over 100
stations in total, part of a long-term campaign against private
media that the government says are biased against Chavez's
"Another 29 will be gone before long," he told thousands of
Chavez supporters at a political rally, without giving details
which stations would be closed or when.
Cabello also said he was launching a new legal case against
Globovision, the country's most prominent anti-government
television network, accusing it of inciting a coup against
Text messages circulated Last week in Venezuela saying a
coup against Chavez was imminent. Other messages circulated
among Chavez supporters calling for them to be on the alert.
The government quashed the rumors quickly and said all
military units were acting normally.
"They (Globovision) aired a tape supposedly with telephone
messages calling for a coup d'etat," said Cabello, a member of
Chavez's inner circle who took part in the president's first
bid for office -- a violent and abortive coup in 1992.
Chavez was himself ousted for 48 hours 10 years later in a
short-lived army rebellion after he won office democratically.
That putsch had the support of some of the country's television
In 2007, Chavez took revenge, refusing to renew the
concession of Venezuela's oldest and most widely watched
private station, RCTV, which is now visible only on cable.
Chavez has long threatened to close down Globovision on
similar grounds and the government has slapped it with big
fines and legal cases this year.
(Reporting by Eyanir Chinea; Writing by Frank Jack Daniel;
Editing by Peter Cooney)