Venezuela's independent press faces difficult election year in 2012; editor remains jailed

President of the Block of Venezuelan Press, an association of Venezuelan newspaper editors, believes covering the 2012 presidential election will be especially difficult for an independent press already under attack by a "totalitarian inspired" government, reported El Universal. "It's what should be expected from a regime [...] that accuses the 'private' media of mounting a campaign against it," said David Natera, editor of Correo del Caroní.

Last week, the National Electoral Council of Venezuela confirmed Oct. 7, 2012, as the election date, announced the State. According to El Nacional, Natera supported 6to Poder's case, where the satirical magazine's circulation was suspended after publishing a caricature of female government officials dressed as cabaret dancers. But the "greatest problem is the media's lack of morality. Here is a list of media companies that, unfortunately, are defunct from a moral perspective," he said.

The editor of 6to Poder, Leocenis García, has been under arrest since Aug. 30 for inciting hate, insulting authorities and offending women. Tuesday, Sept. 20, Reporters Without Borders, asked for the journalist's immediate release. The press freedom organization said the punishment was disproportionate to the alleged crime. “Pre-trial detention is justified when the accused poses an immediate danger to society and might try to flee,” Reporters Without Borders said. “But García turned himself in on 30 August. That alone is reason enough to free him."