Campaign event in Venezuela turns violent as AFP photographer attacked

A photographer was attacked at a demonstration in Venezuela as a confrontation broke out between pro-government and opposition supporters on Wednesday, Sept. 12, reported the website Notícias 24.

Agence France-Presse (AFP) photojournalist Geraldo Caso Bizama was at the airport in the northern coastal city of Puerto Cabello with other reporters to cover the arrival of opposition presidential nominee Henrique Capriles Radonski. Bizama said a man approached him and took his press credentials while others with rocks in their hands wearing red shirts, supposed Chávez supporters, surrounded the photographer and grabbed his camera, according to Public Space. Then, one of the supporters threatened Bizama's life.

This the second journalist attacked in a week while covering the presidential election in Venezuela. On Sunday, Sept. 9, Capriles supporters attacked a journalist for the state-run National Network of Venezuelan Public Media.

Less than a month from the presidential election, the media landscape in Venezuela is littered with accusations, aggressions and threats. Observers from international organizations like the Committee to Protect Journalists assert that Chávez's harassment of private media weaken the press in Venezuela. State journalists also face violence for their reporting. A reporter for Venezuelana de Televisión was also attacked, this time by Capriles supporters, in August.

Note from the editor: This story was originally published by the Knight Center’s blog Journalism in the Americas, the predecessor of LatAm Journalism Review.