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Venezuelan deputy calls for investigation into media's role in causing violence during presidential elections

By Isabela Fraga

A Venezuelan deputy requested the government analyze the supposed negative impacts caused by the media during the Oct. 7 presidential elections in the country, reported the Press and Society Institute.

Deputy Blanca Eekhout said that some Venezuelan media created "situations of unrest and agression" during candidate Henrique Capriles and President Hugo Chávez's campaigns, reported the institute.

The request was made before the National Assembly's Permanent Commission of Popular Power and Media, of which Eekhout is the second vice-president. According to the website Ultimas Noticias, the deputy said she hoped the measure would foster dialogue between various sectors of Venezuelan society about the media's responsibility.

To justify the investigation into the Venezuelan media, Eekhout said that the media created false expectations for supporters of opposition candidate Henrique Capriles, leading them to believe he would unseat Chávez. "First, that our candidate [Chávez] would not be a contender [...] Then said that this candidate had no support in the streets when we saw that there were thousands, millions of persons who mobilized for him, [...]" the deputy said, according to the website Noticiero Digital.

The presidential elections in Venezuela were marked by a strong polarization in the press, according to an analysis from the BBC. Attacks on the media came from supporters of both campaigns. Observers from international organizations, like the Committee to Protect Journalists, reported that Chávez's attacks on the media have weakened the fourth estate in Venezuela.

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.

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