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Venezuela


Venezuela suppresses news, disrupts Web

AP
Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro, pictured, is forcing Internet service providers to act as policemen rather than gateways to free-flowing information. The move is significant as websites are the only outlets critical of the government.
News of economic upheaval suppressed
Web-based TV opens space for critical voices

Coverage of street demonstrations is an exceptionally dangerous assignment, with journalists subject to assaults, obstruction, detention, raids, threats, censorship orders, and confiscation or destruction of equipment. This report is one in a series of three by Getty photographers who documented for CPJ their recent experiences covering protests and shared their photographs.

Two Venezuelan journalists were briefly arrested and interrogated by National Guard troops in late March 2014, according to news reports

Protesters take cover amid clashes with police in Kiev on February 20. (AFP/Sergei Supinsky)

Covering street violence is one thing. Covering gunfire is another. This week, firearms were unexpectedly introduced into ongoing clashes between protesters and police in two parts of the world, raising the threat level faced by journalists trying to cover events.

New York, February 20, 2014--The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns the wave of violence against and harassment and detentions of journalists covering protests in Venezuela in recent days and calls on authorities to ensure the press can work safely. The violations come amid nationwide protests that have left at least six dead and hundreds injured. The demonstrations began on February 12 by university students protesting the government of President Nicolás Maduro.  

Bogotá, February 13, 2014--Venezuelan authorities took a Colombian news station off the air on Wednesday after the station aired coverage of anti-government protests that have left three people dead and dozens injured, according to the station and news reports.

Calls for journalists to exercise a sense of responsibility are very often code for censorship. Yet unethical journalism can also imperil the press. By Jean-Paul Marthoz

The News of the World scandal, in which the British Sunday tabloid hacked voicemails of celebrities and ordinary citizens, led to a divisive debate on how to regulate the media in the U.K. (Reuters/Luke MacGregor)

A climate of uncertainty and tension surrounded the death of President Hugo Chávez after his tightly guarded struggle with cancer and the election of his handpicked successor, Nicolás Maduro. Coverage of both events resulted in widespread attacks on and harassment of journalists. The government's campaign against critical broadcaster Globovisión continued with the eighth sanction against the TV network in eight years, this time regarding a report that questioned the legality of postponing the inauguration of the then-ailing Chávez. After years of harassment, the broadcaster's owner sold the company to businessmen rumored to have close ties to the government, and the station subsequently changed its editorial tone. In a move that critics described as unconstitutional, Maduro signed a decree creating the Strategic Center for Security and Protection of the Fatherland, or CESPPA, which he said would protect the country from outside threats. But journalists and press freedom groups said it gave the state vast powers that would be used to intimidate and censor the media. His government also targeted journalists, websites and Internet service providers in an attempt to suppress the country's grim economic news. The government also made good on its long-term threat and officially withdrew from the American Convention on Human Rights, a cornerstone of the human rights system of the Organization of American States.

Although nearly all Venezuelan newspapers have websites, many of their readers like to get their news the old-fashioned way: on paper. But that's getting tougher every day amid a critical shortage of newsprint.

This screen shot shows EUTV's home page. (CPJ)

With its low budget décor and grainy images, EUTV has the look and feel of small-town community television. But the Web-based TV station that went live on November 18 has much larger ambitions: It intends to be the primary source for Venezuelans who covet independent television news.

The socialist government of President Nicolas Maduro is forcing Internet service providers to act as policemen. (AP/Ariana Cubillos)

The concept of network neutrality holds that all Internet traffic should be treated equal and that Internet Service Providers, or ISPs, should serve as free-flowing gateways for information rather than as filters. But in politically polarized Venezuela, neutrality is an increasingly rare commodity and now ISPs are feeling the heat.

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Killed in Venezuela

5 journalists killed since 1992

2 journalists murdered

Attacks on the Press 2012

1 Critical television station left, which faces steady fines and regulatory actions.

Country data, analysis »

Critics Are Not Criminals: Campaign Against the Criminalization of Speech
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