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Venezuelan opposition TV channel Globovision sold

image captionOutgoing Globovision director Guillermo Zuloaga said he had "mixed feelings" about the sale

Venezuelan opposition TV channel Globovision has been sold and will change its editorial line, according to a statement published on its website.

One of the new managers, Leopoldo Castillo, said it would gradually move its editorial line "toward the centre".

The channel is known for its fierce opposition to the left-wing government of late President Hugo Chavez, and that of his successor, Nicolas Maduro.

The government has repeatedly fined it and accused it of "poisoning society".

'Mixed feelings'

Globovision was widely seen as the only terrestrial TV station which dared to be openly critical of Mr Chavez.

Outgoing director of Globovision Guillermo Zuloaga, who had led the channel for 18 years, asked viewers to give the new management "the benefit of the doubt".

In a letter to station staff, he said he "had mixed feelings" about the sale.

"Unfortunately, the authoritarian government led by Hugo Chavez never liked our attitude and our mission to tell the truth and that's why, starting in 2001, it branded us 'enemies of the revolution' and therefore enemies of the state, which after 14 years of struggle... made it impossible for me to continue at the helm of Globovision."

It had been widely expected that journalist Vladimir Villegas would take over as the channel's director.

But on Monday night, Mr Villegas said on his Twitter account that "there had been no consensus in regards to programme proposals" and that he would now not assume the post.

'Resignation ready'

The channel's vice-president, Carlos Zuloaga, said he would be leaving the channel, along with his father, channel director Guillermo Zuloaga.

"I have my resignation ready, and that of my dad, too. I just need to hand them in," he said on Monday.

Carlos Zuloaga also confirmed the sale of the channel, although it was unclear if the sale documents had been signed yet.

The new owners will be businessmen Raul Gorrin, Juan Domingo Cordero and Gustavo Perdomo.

Globovision has an audience share of 4.29% of free-to-air TV, according to 2012 figures released by media research firm AGB Panamericana.

It has been repeatedly fined by the government for reasons ranging from tax evasion and broadcasting on unauthorised frequencies to "promoting hatred and intolerance for political reasons", charges the channel dismissed as politically motivated.

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