How Media is Being Silenced in Venezuela


Almost a year into President Nicolas Maduro’s administration, almost all Venezuelan media outlets critical of the government have been shut down — or bought out by government supporters. Forcing a sale, you could say, is the “new censorship technique.”

Yet even foreign media outlets are feeling the effects of a government that looks to silence dissent.


Last Wednesday February 12th, when Venezuela saw the largest street protests in over a decade, no local media outlets were covering the day's events on live television. The only outlet that was offering live coverage was Colombian-owned station NTN24, but Maduro ordered the channel off the air that same day in an official address. A few days later, he said that he has started the administrative process to kick CNN International out of the country if they don't "correct themselves."

“24 hours a day they say that we are at war. They want to tell the world that we are in a civil war,” he said in a Thursday address, to the cheers of supporters. "Enough war propaganda!"

Hours later, CNN reported that they received notices that their press accreditation had been denied or revoked. A few days earlier a CNN crew was also robbed of their equipment at gunpoint by a gang of men on motorcycles. Reporter Osmary Hernandez tweeted about the situation, though she later deleted the tweets.


“A “colectivo’ (an unofficial pro-government militia) robbed CNN of our cameras at gunpoint,” reads the first tweet. “They took our cameras, transmission equipment, and even our suitcases with the cloths in them.”

In the midst of widespread protests earlier this week, Fusion’s Mariana Atencio took note of the parallel reality of what is going on on the official news stations, and what is going on over Twitter.


While she was giving the report, the national police were cracking down on Altamira square, a few blocks away from where Mariana was standing. This video was taken later that night.


The shooter of the film appears screams to the women in the apartment to get down, and that he thinks that shots are being fired against the building.


While these images are being shared on social media sites, the government has also been blocking access to Twitter, as confirmed by Twitter employee Nu Wexler. In a tweet, he gave instructions of how to keep receiving notifications via text message.


Last November, Venezuelan officials detained Miami Herald reporter Jim Wyss. And earlier in the year, filmmaker Tim Tracy was jailed on a count of espionage that was later dropped.

Find more Fusion coverage of the Uprising in Venezuela here

Daniel Rivero is a producer/reporter for Fusion who focuses on police and justice issues. He also skateboards, does a bunch of arts related things on his off time, and likes Cuban coffee.

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