It’s Getting Worse for Journalists in Venezuela

This image was removed due to legal reasons.

Miami Herald reporter Jim Wyss landed safely in Miami on Sunday after spending two days in the custody of Venezuelan officials.


Even though he said authorities were “professional” and didn’t abuse him, no one wants to get thrown in a jail without knowing when they might get out.

The incident is part of the ongoing wave of media suppression in Venezuela.

Former President Hugo Chávez, who died in March, was known for clamping down on his critics in the press. Things have actually gotten worse since Chávez’s successor, Nicolás Maduro, took power.

Here are some more examples:

Blatant Censorship: There’s censorship, and then there’s censorship.

This image was removed due to legal reasons.

A judge told two Caracas-based news outlets in August that they couldn’t publish "images of violent content, guns, physical aggression, bloody scenes and naked cadavers" and hit them both with a fine worth 1 percent of their 2009 earnings.

Stifling Criticism: After reporting about the country’s food shortages in September, the Venezuelan news network Globovisión faced an administrative inquiry from a telecommunications regulatory commission.


Globovisión was also threatened with a fine in October when it reported on national gasoline shortages.

Big Brother: In October, Maduro signed a decree creating the “Strategic Center for Security and Protection of the Fatherland.” It’s an intelligence agency that seeks “to uncover, neutralize, and defeat any plan against the country before it takes place.”


In reality, the agency will likely be used to neutralize media outlets that are critical of the government, according to the The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ).

The CPJ reports that the head of the agency has the right to classify and censor information, even though the Venezuelan constitution prohibits censorship.


Jim Wyss will appear on "AMERICA with Jorge Ramos" on Tuesday at 8 p.m.

Ted Hesson was formerly the immigration editor at Fusion, covering the issue from Washington, D.C. He also writes about drug laws and (occasionally) baseball. On the side: guitars, urban biking, and fiction.