Journalists denounce restrictions on election coverage in Venezuela

Various journalists have claimed that their coverage was restricted during the recent elections in Venezuela, won by Hugo Chávez’s designated successor Nicolás Maduro.  According to the Press and Society Institute (IPYS), some local journalists had problems getting into voting centers and were impeded by the authorities.

Keren Torres, a journalist for the newspaper El Impulso, covered the elections in Crespo, Lara State.  She told IPYS that she and her photographer were not able to enter four of the five voting sites they visited.

In Puerto Ordaz, Bolívar State, a journalist from the local paper Primicia was removed from a voting site by members of Plan República, a military force of the state in charge of security during the elections.  Natalia Urdaneta said that she encountered restrictions around the city, even when she showed her press credentials from the National Electoral Council (CNE).  The reporter Eunice Gamero confirmed similar problems in her city.

There were also reports of restrictions on the local press in Coro, Falcón State.  Gladyscar Guzmán and Cintia González, from the newspaper Nuevo Día; Joanne López, from Radio Coro and correspondent for El Nacional; and Clordina Núñez, from Súper Stéreo FM 94.5 were prevented from entering some voting sites.  The journalists also criticized the difficulty in obtaining information about the elections from CNE officials.

The polarization that has characterized the media during the Chávez administration was also clearly visible during the campaign between Maduro and Capriles.  Capriles claimed he was censored by state media.  As in the 2012 campaign, there was an imbalance in media coverage during this campaign by both public and private media, according to executive director of IPYS Marianela Balbi.

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.