Twitter becoming a common way to threaten journalists in Venezuela

A journalist critical of Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez received threats over Twitter and on his cell phone on Nov. 20, reported the freedom of expression NGO Public Space.

Luis Carlos Díaz, communications coordinator for an investigative and social action organization in the capital Caracas received tweets saying "you're marked" and "did you like our little surprise?" reported the Press and Society Institute (IPYS in Spanish). The tweets came from a Twitter account named "VTV Periodistas," supposedly linked to a group of reporters for a state television station. The account was deactivated after accusations of spamming by Twitter users.

Immediately after, Díaz received a phone call insulting him, according to IPYS. The group reports that it was the same voice used to threaten journalist Berenice Gómez in September of this year.

Politically motivated online attacks and threats against journalists have become a growing problem in Venezuela. Since September, 2011, three journalists critical of the government have had their Twitter accounts hacked.