Venezuela’s government Wednesday ordered pay TV operators to take CNN en Español off the air. The Venezuelan National Telecommunications Commission (Conatel) has opened an “administrative sanctioning proceeding” against CNN en Español for alleged “direct aggressions that infringe peace and democratic stability” of the country.

According to the TV network, the decision came after CNN en Español aired an investigation into the alleged fraudulent issuing of Venezuelan passports and visas.

Conatel Director, Andrés Eloy Méndez, said: “CNN was not censored and will never be censored”. The news channel “has violated the Law of Social Responsibility in Radio, Television and Electronic Media that is why we took the decision to remove it”.

Mendez said CNN “has right to a defense. We are going to wait the administrative deadlines of 60, 70 days” to make a final decision, he added.

In a statement released after the government’s action, the company said through a spokesperson: “At CNN en Español we believe in the vital role that freedom of press plays in a healthy democracy. The government of Venezuela pulled our television signal, denying Venezuelans news and information from our television network, which they have relied upon for 20 years”.

Another one of Turner Broadcasting System’s cable networks, CNN International, still is being telecast in Venezuela.