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Protest and no paper: Venezuela’s crisis deepens

Venezuela sits in the 4th quartile and is one of the lowest scoring countries in the Americas. Its scores are well below the regional average across all themes, with Civic Space at 0.11; Digital at 0.08; Media at 0.06; Protection at 0.12; and Transparency at 0.04.

Figure 15: 

Venezuela’s scores have been in consistent decline, with a scores declined by 28% between 2017 and 2018.

A sham election in Venezuela gave President Nicolás Maduro another term, though the campaign period was characterised by intimidation and bans on political opposition. Maduro continued the year by presiding over further economic collapse and a humanitarian crisis.

Maduro seems keen to silence all non-official narratives on the effects of his leadership – from the migration crisis it continues to cause[1] to shortages of basic goods, like food,[2] and the responses of Venezuelan citizens.[3] At least 15 were killed in protests demanding food and healthcare during 2018.[4]

The economic crisis has directly impacted the media. Around 50 publications have been forced to close since 2013 due to ongoing lack of resources or production inputs; more than a quarter of these closures took place in 2018. Lack of paper – a resource under state control – shut several outlets in 2018,[5] and 35 between 2013 and 2018.[6] Lack of electricity also disrupted a number of independent radio stations in the Táchira area in October.[7]

 

[1] IFEX, Guardia Nacional impide cobertura periodística en la frontera, 19 February 2018, available at https://www.ifex.org/venezuela/2018/02/19/guardia-nacional-cobertura-periodistica/es/

[2] IFEX, Periodistas fueron demandados por reportaje sobre corrupción en la importación de alimento, 6 February 2018, available at https://www.ifex.org/venezuela/2018/02/06/periodistas-reportaje-alimentos/es/

[3] Espacio Publico, GNB amenaza a periodista durante la cobertura de una protesta, 23 March 2018, available at http://espaciopublico.ong/gnb-amenaza-a-periodista-durante-la-cobertura-de-una-protesta/#.WsD5tJcyHIU

[4] Civicus, Monitor: Tracking Civic Space, n.d., available at https://monitor.civicus.org/

[5] Istituto de Prensa y Sociedad Venezuela, El Nacional y Los Andes afectados por crisis de papel en agosto: Balance semanal, 20 August 2018, available at https://ipysvenezuela.org/alerta/dos-periodicos-mas-afectados-por-crisis-de-papel-balance-semanal/

[6] PEN International, Acts of Resistance: Literature, Journalism and Censorship in Venezuela, 2019, available at https://pen-international.org/app/uploads/PEN-Venezuela-Report-ENG-9-18-Proof2.pdf

[7] IFEX, 40 restricciones al acceso a la información en lo que va de 2018, 9 October 2018, available at https://ifex.org/es/40-restricciones-al-acceso-a-la-informacion-en-lo-que-va-de-2018/

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