Venezuelan newspaper investigated for publishing photo of soldier with "iron claw"

  • By Guest
  • February 5, 2010

By Ingrid Bachmann

El Nacional published a front-page image that shows a soldier holding the chain and hooks before a group of students who were protesting the closure of the RCTV cable station. The newspaper also reports that prosecutors have begun a criminal investigation against it over the image published Jan. 28.

The investigation was launched by the National Guard and seeks to determine if El Nacional committed a “crime of opinion,” the DPA news agency says. Specifically, the newspaper is said to have committed crimes of vilification and insult against the armed forces, in an effort to sway opinion against the military.

President Hugo Chávez insists that the iron claw shown in the photo is not an instrument to repress protests, but rather a device to remove tires the protesters had burned in the streets, El Universal adds. However, in the president's judgment, the image is an example of how the media seek to portray him as a "bloodthirsty tyrant."

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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