Journalists covering the mass protests in Venezuela should consider wearing bulletproof vests, said Frank Smyth, senior advisor for journalism security for the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), in a recent blog post.
The National Union for Press Workers in Venezuela (SNTP in Spanish) accused the Bolivarian National Guard (GNB) of detaining 41 persons, of whom at least two were foreign journalists who say they were beaten and robbed of their equipment during a protest on Friday, Feb. 28.
The United States State Department published on Thursday their annual report on human rights, where it strongly criticized the restrictions on press freedoms and freedom of expression in Venezuela and Ecuador. In the midst of a political crisis in Venezuela, the report highlighted that the Venezuelan government “continued taking actions to impede on freedom of expression and restrict press freedoms.”
A Colombian journalist and his work partner were treated violently by the National Guard of Venezuela while covering protests on Feb. 14, reported the digital newspaper Infobae.
Nicolás Maduro’s government continues to repress the news media in Venezuela. A week after NTN24’s signal was cut mid-transmission and work permits for CNN journalists were revoked, Twitter confirmed to BBC Mundo that the images of the protests published through its service are being blocked in Venezuela.
Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro accused foreign media and the U.S. government of misrepresenting the country and of participating in a collective plot to overthrow the Venezuelan government, Bloomberg reported.
Twenty journalists were attacked, and eleven were arrested during the protests that took place in several cities across Venezuela last week, says a report issued by the Media Workers National Press Union (SNTP).
Following the closure of a dozen Venezuelan newspapers due to the country’s paper shortage crisis, hundreds of journalists and journalism students marched down the streets of Caracas on Jan. 28 calling the government to sell foreign currencies to print media outlets so they can purchase much-needed newsprint. The journalists said they will continue to protest until the government resolves the situation, newspaper El Nacional reported.
Since 2003, a currency exchange system in Venezuela has prevented businesses from importing certain products without first purchasing foreign currencies provided by the state. In 2012, newsprint, which is not produced in the country, was listed as not being a priority item, forcing newspapers to file requests with the government for foreign currencies in order to import it.
Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro called for a boycott on several national newspapers after accusing them of having distorted the results of the recent municipal elections in the country, the Press and Society Institute informed.