RSF criticizes public, private media in run-up to election in Venezuela

On Sept. 18, Reporters Without Borders (RSF in French) addressed the European Parliament's Subcommittee on Human Rights about the current situation in Venezuela in the last weeks before the Oct. 7 presidential elections, the French organization announced on its website.

According to the press organization's statement, the election "epitomized the full range of public, political and media polarization in recent years in Venezuela." RSF went on to stress both public and private media's responsibility for contributing to the enmity in the South American country. RSF's announcement came a week after a violent confrontation at a campaign event for opposition candidate Henrique Capriles and left five journalists injured.

The French press organization cited attacks on journalists like reporter Lorena Benítez of the public television broadcaster VTV and Agence France-Presse photojournalist Geraldo Caso Bizama, among others.

"Reporters Without Borders has registered some 40 cases of attacks of this kind against journalists in the course of 2012. There have also been around ten cases of attacks or sabotage against news media. We condemn not only the attacks themselves, which are serious and often go unpunished, but also the fact that politicians exploit them for propaganda purposes, which just encourages them," the organization posted on its website.

"[F]reedom of information, which Reporters Without Borders has a mandate to defend, and democratic debate have given way as never before to invective, vilification, personal attacks and, too often, physical violence. This is our main reason for concern," RSF said.

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.