Venezuelan Supreme Court orders DirecTV to restore service

ARCHIVE PHOTO: Satellite TV antennas are seen in the low-income Catia neighborhood after AT&T Inc. said on Tuesday that it ended its operations with DirecTV Latin America in Venezuela, in Caracas, Venezuela, on May 19 2020. REUTERS / Manaure Quintero

CARACAS (Reuters) – Venezuela's Supreme Court on Friday ordered DirecTV pay television service to restore services in the South American country after owner AT&T Inc. said earlier this week that it was closing access due to US sanctions.

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DirecTV was the country's most popular television service, providing a variety of foreign channels as an alternative to the country's local television industry, which was hit by a hyperinflationary economic crisis.

US sanctions designed to force President Nicolas Maduro to step down prohibit companies from hiring state agencies, but local Venezuelan laws require subscription services to broadcast government-run channels.

In a statement, the higher court also ordered the national telecommunications regulator, with the support of the armed forces, to "take immediate possession of all the properties and assets" belonging to the company needed to provide its pay television services.

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AT&T did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Caracas newsroom report; Written by Luc Cohen; Edition by Marguerita Choy

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