Government restricts coverage of protests

first_img Discontent with the country’s economic problems and the high rate of violent crime are fueling the protests that erupted earlier this month. Protesters and human rights groups grievances include government control of the media.The political tension has also had an impact on journalists’ safety. Shots were deliberately fired at Karen Mendez, the correspondent of the Peruvian online newspaper El Comercio, while she was covering the protests and demonstrators threw stones at María Iginia Silva while she was editing a report on the protests for Globovisión. Journalists working for state media have not been spared. Jilfredo Alejandro Barradas, a photographer with the State Communication and Information Office, sustained a gunshot injury while covering the demonstrations on motorcycle. A group of protesters assaulted the VTV headquarters with Molotov cocktails and other explosives. Rafael Hernández of the magazine Exceso and the blogger Ángel Matute were arrested while covering the unrest on 12 February and remained in police custody for three days. When a judge released them on 15 February, he ordered them not to cover the demonstrations.The head of the National Telecommunication Commission (CONATEL) reacted to the scale of the protests by announcing on 11 February that “coverage of the violent events” was punishable under the Radio, TV and Electronic Media Social Responsibility Law (RESORTMEC), which bans content condoning violence or hatred.The authorities began carrying out this threat the next day when the protests turned violent, with three reported deaths and many gunshot injuries, both civilian and police. Venezuelan viewers suddenly found themselves deprived of access to NTN24, a Colombian TV news station that had been reporting the opposition’s demands. Even social networks, normally resistant to all forms of censorship, have been affected. Many people who use the national Internet Service Provider CANTV have reported that their access to photos has been blocked on Twitter, as confirmed by Twitter’s official spokesperson, Nu Wexler. He immediately suggested an alternative by SMS: “Users blocked in #Venezuela: Follow + receive notifications via SMS of any Twitter account. Send SEGUIR (usuario) to 89338.”“We condemns these arbitrary acts of censorship, which are being implemented outside of any established administrative or judicial procedures and which are all the more disturbing for coming against a backdrop of government harassment of local and international news providers,” said Reporters Without Borders secretary-general Christophe Deloire. “We join local free speech organizations in pointing out that control of news coverage will just exacerbate the current situation and fuel the extreme media polarization currently prevailing in Venezuela.”“We are also concerned by the threat economic asphyxiation of newspapers causes for pluralism.”Accused by the government of waging “war propaganda,” the Venezuelan media are also threatened by structural problems – the shortage of raw material, including newsprint. Many newspapers have been forced to print smaller or fewer issues or suspend printing altogether. The list of those affected gets longer by the day. Around 20 newspapers are currently in danger. Ironically, the authorities systematically harass media that mention the shortages.Under the protection policies adopted when Hugo Chávez was president, newspapers have to obtain dollars to import newsprint as Venezuela does not produce any of its own. The procedures for getting the foreign currency and the newsprint they need to operate have become increasingly complex. The requirement to apply to the government for dollars has given the authorities a say in the number of copies the newspapers print and distribute.The government has responded with conspiracy theory to accusations that it is deliberately starving the newspapers of newsprint. Ruling party legislator Julio Chávez has gone so far as to accuse the media of deliberately hoarding newsprint in order to put pressure on the government.According to the authorities, newsprint imports rose by more than 30 per cent in 2013 although Venezuelan newspapers kept on reducing the number of copies they print.Various factors make Venezuela one of the western hemisphere’s most worrying countries as regards freedom of information. They include the requirement for broadcast media to carry government speeches, called cadenas, the creation of a new intelligence agency with powers that threaten access to information, a restrictive legal framework, and the government’s systematic harassment of news media and journalists. As a result, Venezuela is ranked 116th out of 180 countries in the 2014 Reporters Without Borders Press Freedom Index.Photos: Mariana Vincenti RSF_en to go further February 18, 2014 – Updated on January 20, 2016 Government restricts coverage of protests News Help by sharing this information VenezuelaAmericas Follow the news on Venezuela Organisation August 25, 2020 Find out more VenezuelaAmericas center_img June 15, 2020 Find out more News New wave of censorship targeting critical media outlets Receive email alerts Coronavirus “information heroes” – journalism that saves lives News News Two journalists murdered just days apart in Venezuela January 13, 2021 Find out morelast_img read more

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Family and friends rally in support of jailed farmer

first_imgNewsLocal NewsFamily and friends rally in support of jailed farmerBy admin – November 16, 2011 471 MEMBERS of the family and friends of the jailed farmer Daniel Doherty took their protest to the gates of Limerick Prison last Saturday when they called for the release of the 40-year-old Templeglantine man, who remains in prison for failing to uphold an order of the court. Daniel Doherty is in prison for refusing to purge his contempt of court and obey a court order where he is to vacate the farmland of two brothers, that he worked for, who died a number of years ago without leaving a will.Sign up for the weekly Limerick Post newsletter Sign Up Following a protracted series of sittings at Limerick Circuit Court, Doherty said he would not “go against the wishes of Matt and Eddie” who were two bachelor farmers that he helped on their farm.Doherty has remained in prison since July when he was first asked to purge his contempt and uphold the vacation order.On each occasion that he has appeared in front of a judge sitting at the Circuit Court, Doherty has vowed to stay on the land and not leave.The matter began in March 2010, when appeals of the original order failed and Doherty was forced and ordered to vacate the Roche family land.A protest calling for his release was held last Saturday where supporters stayed at the gates for a number of hours drumming up support from the passing motorists and pedestrians.His supporters said that all Danny did “was help his neighbours,” and that he should not be in jail for that.However, as Daniel Doherty now enters his fourth month in prison, he still refuses to obey the order and purge his contempt. Linkedin Print WhatsApp Advertisementcenter_img Previous articleStrand Hotel Shortlisted for – 2011 eircom golden spider awardNext article‘It’s a bit rich from Willie O’Dea’ – Jan O’Sullivan admin Email Twitter Facebooklast_img read more

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