Predator

Nicolás MADURO

23 November 1962



President of Venezuela since 2013

Predator since taking office



 Venezuela, 148th/180 countries in the 2021 World Press Freedom Index



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Dear [Name of Candidate],

I am writing to ask you what you plan to do to defend the First Amendment, freedom of the press, and the fundamental rights of journalists to practice their profession freely in what has become an increasingly hostile environment for information and news providers.

The United States, which enshrines press freedom in the First Amendment of its Constitution, is currently witnessing a drastic decline in media freedom. On June 28, one of the most horrific attacks on press freedom in the United States occurred when five employees, including four reporters, were killed at the Capital Gazette newspaper in Annapolis, Maryland. According to the US Press Freedom Tracker, which comprehensively documents press freedom violations in the US committed by national, state, and local authorities as well as private individuals, 33 journalists were arrested, 43 were physically attacked, and 15 seizures of journalists’ equipment occurred in 2017. In one of these incidents, Rep. Greg Gianforte physically assaulted a Guardian journalist the night before his state’s election. While covering the school shooting in Parkland, Florida, journalists were impersonated on social media, impeding their ability to accurately investigate the facts and disseminate information which could be vital to preventing a similar tragedy. This hostility towards the press not only risks compromising the American public’s right to be informed through journalists’ reporting, but can also degrade the public’s trust in the media itself.

This is not a partisan issue; it is a fundamental right that impacts every American no matter their politics. Journalism is at the crux of our democracy, and communities everywhere rely on journalists to provide them with information that is essential to their daily decision-making processes. It was local investigative journalist Curt Guyette who broke the story about Flint, Michigan’s lack of access to clean water in 2014, prompting years of class-action lawsuits, protests, and subsequent federal assistance to the city in order to try to resolve the crisis. Reporters Megan Twohey, Jodi Kantor, and Ronan Farrow publicized sexual assault allegations against influential Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein in 2017, leading to the ubiquitous and powerful #MeToo movement which brought decades of sexual abuse and harassment across multiple industries to light.

Yet freedom of the press in the US is currently in dire need of congressional support. It is our civic duty as one of the world’s leading democracies to uphold principles that support and protect the rights of journalists so that they may hold those in power accountable and ensure an informed and engaged community.

If you are elected, what do you plan to do to protect this utterly essential component of our democracy? What are your plans to protect the public’s right to be informed through a free and independent press?

Sincerely,
[Your name]
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Hello, my name is _______ and I am from [city, state].

I’m calling to let you know that [candidate/representative]'s stance on freedom of the press is extremely important in my decision to vote. I feel that this is not a partisan issue, but a fundamental right that impacts every American no matter their politics.

I have become increasingly concerned with the growing climate of hostility for journalists in this country, and I would like for [candidate/representative] to publicly address what they will do to defend press freedom if [he/she] is elected.

Thank you.
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Freedom of the press is suffering in the US. @[yourcandidate] if you are elected to serve in Congress, what are your plans to protect journalists and our right to be informed? Will you #DefendPressFreedom?

Democracy depends on a free and independent press and its ability to hold those in power accountable. [@yourcandidate] will you take measures to protect journalism and the First Amendment? Will you #DefendPressFreedom?

In June, four reporters were murdered in an appalling targeted attack on the Capital Gazette and freedom of the press. [@yourcandidate] what will you do to address the growing threat to journalists in this country? #DefendPressFreedom

Press freedom is in steady decline in the US. I want my representative to defend the work of journalists as well as my right to be informed. [@yourcandidate] if you are elected what will you do to protect a free press? #DefendPressFreedom
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Journalists play a crucial role in our democracy by keeping us informed and holding those in power accountable. And yet in the US, attacks on journalists are becoming more common, undermining the media's role and creating opportunities for government overreach, the erosion of press freedom, and impeding our right to be informed. I’m contacting my candidates and encouraging them to defend press freedom during their midterm election campaign. Join me at DefendPressFreedom.com

A free press is essential to our democracy. Communities everywhere rely on journalists to report on our government’s actions and hold public figures accountable, providing us with the information we need to make decisions every day. And yet physical, verbal, and online attacks against journalists in the US are increasing at an astonishing rate. I’m contacting my candidates and encouraging them to defend press freedom during their midterm election campaign. You should too. Read more at DefendPressFreedom.com

Press freedom is declining in the US at an alarming rate. Physical, verbal, and online attacks against journalists have increased drastically in the last two years. As the US midterm elections approach, we must remind our congressional candidates that journalists play a crucial role in our democracy by keeping us informed and holding those in power accountable. I’m contacting my representatives and encouraging them to defend press freedom during their midterm election campaign. Join in and help me spread the word at DefendPressFreedom.com

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    PREDATORY METHOD: Censorship and deliberately orchestrated economic strangulation




    The Maduro administration’s authoritarian and abusive treatment of independent media has not let up since 2017. Journalists are subjected to arbitrary arrest and violence by the police and intelligence services. The National Telecommunications Commission (CONATEL) strips overly critical radio and TV stations of their broadcast frequencies, and coordinates Internet cuts, social media blocking and confiscation of equipment. Most opposition print media have not survived all the various forms of harassment, while online media are subjected to repeated cyber-attacks that make their reporting more and more complex and expensive. Foreign reporters are often arrested, questioned and deported. Many of Venezuelan journalists have been forced to flee the country since 2018 because of the threats and physical dangers.



    FAVOURITE TARGETS: Privately-owed media, the newspaper El Nacional



    More than 100 media outlets have closed since Maduro became president while El Nacional, the prestigious national daily founded in 1943, had to stop producing a print version in December 2018. It is still active online but continues to be one of the government’s favourite targets. Its headquarters was seized on 14 May 2021 and it was ordered to pay 13 million US dollars (about 11 million euros) to Diosdado Cabello, a parliamentarian who is Vice-President of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela, the ruling party founded by the late President Hugo Chávez. Cabello’s libel suit could result in El Nacional being permanently stripped of its headquarters and all of its assets in Venezuela. In 2021, the government accused several NGOs and independent media, including the Efecto Cocuyo, Caraota Digital and El Pitazo news sites and Radio Fe y Alegría, of being “journalism mercenaries” and of receiving foreign funding to bring down the government.


    OFFICIAL DISCOURSE: Paranoid denigration


    “Much of the media war to which Venezuela is being subjected is designed to ensure that no one comes near Venezuela, that no one comes to invest, although Venezuela is the best country in the world to invest in.” (Speech on 11 February 2019 launching “Marca País” (Country Brand), an initiative intended to promote tourism and exports and show the “real country.”)

    “I denounce the international campaign waged by CNN in Spanish, this laboratory of lies, psychological warfare and garbage against the country, against Venezuela. A campaign that is also organised by NTN24, a trashy television channel funded by the paramilitary Alvaro Uribe, and by the Miami Herald, the media that is the depository of all the lies against Venezuela (...) [Media) that are full of hate, rage and madness. [Media] that try to poison and to pour their poison on Venezuela and the world.” (Speech at the inauguration of 80 homes at Caricuao, Caracas, on 18 September 2014).