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Venezuela: Authorities Threaten to Fine Media Outlets for Protest Coverage

[All links lead to Spanish-language sites unless otherwise noted.]

Yesterday, Venezuelan authorities threatened media outlets covering a spate of public protests over the controversial detention of a group of university students.

A poster depicting the conflict between free expression and media regulation in Venezuela, at a 2007 student demonstration. Photo by Luis Carlos Diaz via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

A poster depicting the conflict between free expression and media regulation in Venezuela, at a 2007 student demonstration. Photo by Luis Carlos Diaz via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

William Castillo, head of the Venezuelan Telecommunications Commission, CONATEL, declared on Thursday, February 11 that “the media coverage of the regrettable acts of violence perpetrated in some parts of the country could be considered a violation of Article 27 of the Law on Social Responsibility in Radio, Television and Electronic Media [en] which clearly prohibits the dissemination of media containing hate speech and violence, [and those] calling to ignore the authorities and disturb public order.”

For weeks, demonstrations targeting issues ranging from political reform to poor conditions in university housing facilities have been under way in several cities. Protests intensified last week after several students were detained on accusations “association to commit a crime,” amongst other charges, during a demonstration in the city of San Cristóbal. The students remain behind bars. A series of photos from recent protests can be found on Últimas Noticias.

In the midst of a newsprint crisis that has caused nine newspapers to close and more than twenty to reduce their page counts, and while national television channels are submitted to strict content regulations, hardened even more in recent weeks by President Nicolas Maduro and his so-called “war on sensationalism”, digital media has proved vital in covering news that has is no longer covered by traditional media. Today, as opposition leaders summon rallies around the country, people are expected to turn to social media to learn about the development of the demonstrations, which likely will not be reported on any public or mainstream news platforms.

14 comments

  • […] ensuing violence, Venezuelan media continued to air their regular programming, after authorities threatened [en] to sanction any media that covered the protests. Those who sought information about what was […]

  • […] ensuing violence, Venezuelan media continued to air their regular programming, after authorities threatened [en] to sanction any media that covered the protests. Those who sought information about what was […]

  • […] ensuing violence, Venezuelan media continued to air their regular programming, after authorities threatened [en] to sanction any media that covered the protests. Those who sought information about what was […]

  • Javier Vasquez

    Your post exemplifies the bias in coverage against Venezuela so common in the US and Western media. The “opposition” is attempting to provoke violence and destabilize the government in coordination with the vast array of anti-government press of Venezuela, as they did during the coup of 2002. Watch the documentary “The Revolution Will Not be Televised” to get a glimpse of how right wing, politically motivated, ready-to-lie, and anti-democratic the Venezuelan opposition truly is.

    Furthermore, the Venezuelan opposition is circulating old and misleading photos and videos of police repression in order to incite more violence. Not every “revolution” is worth defending, especially those that use lies and violence with fascist elements against a government that has proven to be a boon for the common Venezuelan.

  • […] Social networks, specially Twitter, have been flooded with photos documenting the protests in each region, taking the place of the regular mass media in Venezuela, which is going through a blackout due to the government's threats to fine media who cover the protests. […]

  • […] crisis in Venezuela, following a surge of protests [en] that mainstream media cannot cover under threat of fines [en] by the government, has compelled netizens to spread news through social media. However, not […]

  • […] who will reportedly face terror-related charges. Media attempting to cover the protests have been threatened with fines under a law that “prohibits the dissemination of media containing hate speech and violence.” […]

  • […] το κανονικό τους πρόγραμμα, αφού οι αρχές είχαν απειλήσει [en] με κυρώσεις όποιο μέσο κάλυπτε τις διαδηλώσεις. […]

  • […] 委内瑞拉的抗议现况如今仅受到零星的国际媒体报导,部分原因是来自委内瑞拉政府的施压,媒体就算尝试去报导抗议活动也会遭到罚款的威胁以及恶法--禁止媒体发布攻击性言论以及暴力内容--的惩罚,哥伦比亚有线电视网NTN24在二月12日的时候被取消了播映权,据称就是因为该电视网报导了抗议活动。   使用者表示数个独立和倾反对党部落格以及新闻网站多半因为CANTV--委内瑞拉国营、且近乎垄断举国电信市场的网络提供商的缘故无法连上。   社运份子以及媒体工作者使用社群网站来报导抗议的举动同样面临困难,在二月13日的时候,委内瑞拉境内的推特使用者就无法传送或是接受图片,据传是因为国家封锁了推特多媒体的服务器。 […]

  • […] 本周四,委内瑞拉通讯委员会(CONATEL)主席William Castillo声称,媒体倘若报导有关抗议相关新闻,可能会触犯广播电视与电子媒体社会责任法。委内瑞拉政府因为不同原由封锁网站已是行之有年。去年十一月,当总统Maduro宣布要对报导非正式外汇牌价的网站采取行动时,即有一波封锁潮。上周六,Castillo宣布有384个网站遭到封锁,因为: […]

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