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Scandalous closure, blockade and censorship in Venezuela: there are at least 200 media

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Nicolás Maduro
Nicolás Maduro

The impact that the departure of the cable company DirecTV, owned by the American AT&T, has caused in Venezuela is perhaps comparable to what happened with the closure of the channel Radio Caracas Television (RCTV) in 2007. On that occasion it was seen as an exemplary act of Hugo Chávez, who took advantage of the expiration of the concession to leave the channel, but also as a vengeful act against the media that had taken a position contrary to him during the coup of April 11, 2002, so that those affected by Chavismo applauded the measure. This time, even the affections of the revolution have complained.

The deterioration of everything in Venezuela has also covered the companies that provided cable television service, which is not exclusive to the middle class, because photos of the populous parish January 23 have shown hundreds of apartments with the company's antennas .

It all started because DirecTV Venezuela tried to remove the channel from its list Globovisión and Pdvsa TV, because they enter the figure of United States sanctions that prevent companies from that country from contracting or having negotiations like the sanctioned ones.

Maduro's government has a record in Venezuela of closed media, censored programs, annihilated newspapers, in addition to a large number of blocked news portals. But this time he refused to allow the two channels, allies to the revolution, to leave DirecTV, in addition to the problem presented by the president of the television channel. Globovisión, sanctioned for alleged acts of corruption.

Then the cable company settled the salaries of the employees and decided to leave the country, without trying to reach an agreement with the Maduro regime, perhaps for the certainty that, if it did not accept Globovisión and Pdvsa TVSooner or later at least the goods were going to be expropriated with some excuse. So he already seemed to have the suitcase ready and ended the service to settle in Colombia.

The impact caused in Venezuela by the departure of the DirecTv cable company, owned by the American AT&T, is perhaps comparable to what happened with the closure of the Radio Caracas Television (RCTV) channel in 2007 (REUTERS / Manaure Quintero)
The impact caused in Venezuela by the departure of the DirecTv cable company, owned by the American AT&T, is perhaps comparable to what happened with the closure of the Radio Caracas Television (RCTV) channel in 2007 (REUTERS / Manaure Quintero)

And while it is true that many opposition leaders have regretted the decision of DirecTv, the most complaining have been leaders of the Revolution, starting with number two, God given hair, who is vice president of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela and who has a television program on Wednesdays, and was forced to have to ask his audience to follow the program on social networks, which implies two additional problems, that of the Repeated electrical failures, coupled with the lousy Internet service, the lowest on the continent.

According to a study by the Speedtest Global Index, a portal that measures the speed of the Internet, the connection in Venezuela is in the penultimate place of the 176 countries it explored, at 3.67 Mbps, second only to Turkmenistan, a central Asian country.

On the other hand, the constituent Maria Alejandra Diaz, president of the human rights commission of the Constituent Assembly, which exhibits radicalism with the revolution, filed an appeal to the Supreme Court of Justice (TSJ) to demand the restitution of the subscription television platform DirecTV. His argument is that the appeal he presents is to protect subscribers and that the service be restored.

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He told the magistrates that DirecTV, which covers 45.32% of the subscription television market in the country, abuses its dominant position to leave a sector of Venezuelans without communication. Directv's cessation of operations affects more than 6.5 million Venezuelans, he said.

Scandalous censorship

In Venezuela it has happened since the arrival of Chavismo to power, mainly since Nicolás Maduro assumed the presidency, the most scandalous censorship against written, radio, television and news portals.

The journalist Ángel Ramón Oliveros stands out for Infobae than "the emptiness on the dial is noticeable. In so many years as a journalist I had not lived it. In our Andean culture, radio meant the link with reality, even more than the press or TV. It was the most reliable link, beyond the immediate environment"

"Both radio spots, especially news broadcasts, and media have ‘disappeared’ for various reasons, perhaps fear, mistrust, or simply no longer sustainable. Networks are something else: dynamism, interaction, connectivity, if there is light, of course, but they are not and will not operate as means. The emptiness is such that it is almost impossible to know what is true, what is fakenews, when a fact is true or simply rumor. So, without a solid information system, uncertainty finally prevails, "Oliveros concludes saying.

A report by the Press and Society Institute reports that "In just 49 days, between March 13 and April 30, the security forces caused 27 cases of attacks on the freedom of the press, and arbitrary arrests were positioned as the mainstay of the State in times of social quarantine.

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"These abusive measures amounted to 15 cases that deprived 20 press workers in the states of Miranda, Vargas, Cojedes, Táchira, Guárico, Apure, Delta Amacuro, Zulia and the Caracas Metropolitan Area."

According to IPYS "In Venezuela, the disinformation virus spreads faster than the Covid-19 coronavirus. The official figures on the pandemic that the Nicolás Maduro administration has handled during this crisis, remain in doubt. ”

The previous year, that is, in 2019, IPYS considered that the "abuse of state power, aggressions and threats, disinformation, opacity and censorship mechanisms, made 2019 the worst year for the exercise of journalism in Venezuela”, When they registered 534 cases that accumulated 1032 violations of the rights to freedom of expression and access to public information of journalists and citizens. Now so far in 2020 it seems that this year the statistics will be worse.

Conatel
Conatel

The Institute stressed that during 2019 the Conatel body used mechanisms that "they prohibited the transmissions of six foreign television stations, withdrew nine radio and television opinion programs, and the signal of nine radio stations"

The affected television channels were National Geographic (USA), Antena 3 (Spain), Radio Caracol (Colombia) and 24 Horas (Chile), whose broadcasts were suspended from February 22 on DirecTV, Movistar, Intercable and Supercable services. , for transmitting content related to the entry of humanitarian aid.

In turn, Conatel ordered the blocking of the portal of the Colombian newspaper El Tiempo, as well as intermittent blocking of content from YouTube, Google, Microsoft Bing and Facebook. Days before, the pages ayudayliberty.com, venezuelaaidlive.mdstrm.com and, venezuelaaidlive.com were censored.

As a result of Operation Freedom on April 30, 2019, four social media outlets were censored: Radio station Radio Caracas Radio (RCR), DirecTV had to withdraw CNN International, followed by the BBC Mundo news agency.

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There were 262 incidents against digital media. 97 cases with radio stations with 97, 81 against television media, 59 towards print media, 16 actions against news agencies, and six that affected non-governmental organizations.

The NGO Espacio Público directed by Carlos Correa, reveals in the report “Freedom of Expression and Elections; Venezuela needs conditions”Than in 2019“27 radio stations, three television channels, two digital media and two print media were closed. These 34 media are added to a list that exceeds 200 media closed since 2004"

"The Government ignores the demands of organizations, unions, managers and press workers, who constantly denounce the consequences of these closings," says the organization.

Marysabel Rodriguez of Espacio Público publishes that “during 2017, 54 stations, 17 print media and 8 television channels, including 3 national ones, went off the air in a context of high social and political conflict. Obtaining information through conventional means is increasingly complicated, around 70 newspapers have stopped circulating in Venezuela in the last 5 years. Between January and December 2018, some 40 print media; 3 radio stations; and a press department closed or suspended broadcasts. "

He adds that “between 2004 and 2017, 14 television stations went off the air, 6 of them international. The transmission of the majority was suspended during 2017 ”.

The list is long

The Radio Chamber, until 2016, had registered 200 active stations out of the 700 that there were in 2010 approximately. Radio Caracas Radio, the oldest station in the country, was forced to cease operations on April 30, 2019, by order of the National Telecommunications Commission (Conatel). There are hundreds of closed and censored programs and stations.

Progressively, the media were closed, censored or blocked. This Infobae portal is a victim of this block, also by Cantv's decision, the PuntoDeCorte.com portal, the Runrunes, LaPatilla, Costa del Sol FM websites, among many others, have also presented problems.

Large channels such as NTN24 Nuestra Tele Noticias, were censored and removed from the air in 2014. CNN in Spanish in 2017, like Todo Noticias TN, El Tiempo Television, Caracol - Caracol Internacional and RCN. In 2018, it was CNN Chile's turn. In 2019 it corresponded to 24 Hours 24 hours, TV Chile, Antena 3, Natgeo.

On the island of Margarita, for example, Diario del Caribe, La Hora, Caribazo and Sol de Margarita were closed weekly but are terminated by Covid-19.

To the closed channels is added RN from Argentina, TV Mexico, RCTV international, RTP France, Fox News, O Globo Brasil, TVO, Niños Cantores, Univisión, Noti Perú, TVR, Ávila TV, Telecaribe, Canal el trece, among others .

Among the censored media fined or closed for seasons, may include Venevisión, Televen, TRT, Globovisión, La tele, ANTV, Canal i, Vpi, DirecTV canal, Inter canal, ULA Tab, among others.

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