Just seven months from the upcoming presidential elections in Venezuela, attacks against the press have intensified, according to Reporters Without Borders.
On Tuesday, March 20, Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez accused the press of "media terrorism" for reporting on massive contamination of drinking water in the central region of the country, and attributed the stories to an attempt to damage his image in an electoral year, according to Portal Terra and Notícias24.
"We can't stay by with our arms crossed during these campaigns. This is terrorism and it will not be permitted," Chavez said during a meeting of the Ministers Council. The president also asked for authorities to investigate those responsible for the accusations of contamination," according to Agência Ansa.
After speaking with Chavez, the attorney general of Venezuela, Luisa Ortega, announced on Wednesday, March 21, that she would ask the courts to order the media to publish a technical report supporting the information published about water contamination, according to El Espectador. The prosecutor's office also opened a criminal investigation into the news outlets that published the stories.