The president of Venezuela, Nicolas Maduro, has issued a decree (Decree No. 641, Official Gazette No. 40,311 of 9 December 2013) which transfers the country’s telecoms regulator, the National Telecommunications Commission (Conatel) to operate under the Ministry of Popular Power for Communication and Information (MinCI), although the watchdog will remain jointly under the responsibility of the Vice President, Jorge Arreaza, and MinCI. The reshuffle, reported on MinCI’s website, brings to an end a period which began in August 2010 when the Office of the Vice President took sole oversight for Conatel under a decision taken by then-president Hugo Chavez in consideration of the ‘strategic importance’ of the telecoms sector, according to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, which adds that MinCI previously did not directly influence the telecoms sector in its function as a government agency for communications policy, information and publicity, concerned with broadcasting/media channels, chiefly TV and radio.
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