Venezuelan state journalist attacked at opposition campaign event

By Isabela Fraga

On Sunday, Sept. 9, a journalist for the National Network of Venezuelan Public Media (SNMP in Spanish) was attacked by supporters of Henrique Capriles, President Hugo Chávez's opponent in the up-coming October presidential elections, reported the Venezuelan News Agency.

Lorena Benitez was covering a Capriles campaign event in the La Pastora neighborhood of the capital, Caracas, when a group of the candidate's supporters insulted and splashed SNMP journalists with a liquid. After trying to shoot a photo of the event, Benitez refused to hand over her cell phone to the Capriles supporters and was attacked, reported Venezuelana de Televisión.

Less than a month from the presidential election, the media landscape in Venezuela is littered with accusations, aggressions and threats. Observers from international organizations like the Committee to Protect Journalists assert that Chávez's harassment of private media weaken the press in Venezuela. On the other hand, Benitez is not the first state journalist to be attacked. A reporter for Venezuelana de Televisión was also attacked by Capriles supporters in August.

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.