Ever more authoritarian
Venezuela’s president since 2013, Nicolás Maduro persists in trying to silence independent media outlets and keep news coverage under constant control. The climate for journalists has been extremely tense since the onset of a political and economic crisis in 2016, and is exacerbated by Maduro’s frequent references to “media warfare” in an attempt to discredit national and international media criticism of his administration. Harassment of independent media has intensified since 2017, and RSF registered a record number of arbitrary arrests and violence against reporters by the police and intelligence services.
The National Telecommunications Commission (CONATEL) strips overly critical radio and TV stations of their broadcast frequencies, and coordinates ad hoc Internet cuts or social media blocking. Foreign reporters are often arrested, questioned and deported. Many Venezuelan journalists have fled the country since 2018 because of the threats and physical dangers. A 2010 law provides for sanctions in the event of any content “calling the legitimately constituted authority into question.” This has led to arbitrary arrests and defamation prosecutions. The print media are meanwhile often threatened by unexplained newsprint shortages.
148 in 2019
49.10 in 2019