With Venezuela’s entire electrical grid on the fritz, the economy paralyzed and the health system collapsed, the suffering of Venezuelans knows no limits. Amid their many basic needs — food, sanitation and transportation — there is another that is less obvious but no less essential: information.
It goes without saying that Venezuelans are living through a huge news story. But the government of Nicolás Maduro wants to keep the people of Venezuela in the dark. “It’s like a movie about the apocalypse and we continue to work very hard to cover it,” said Luz Mely Reyes, the editor of Efecto Cocuyo, a leading independent news website.… Seguir leyendo »
The murderous attack on the office of the satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo in Paris last week can be seen in the context of modern French society: its challenges assimilating immigrants, its ongoing efforts to preserve its liberal and secular political culture, and even its national affinity for a kind of scathing and irreverent cartooning rooted in a deep distrust of institutions.
But the attack has a global dimension as it also can be seen as the latest skirmish in a war over freedom of expression. This war has led to a record number of journalists being killed and imprisoned around the world.… Seguir leyendo »
Hugo Chávez Frías came to power in 1999 pledging to transform Venezuela’s political culture. He has unquestionably succeeded. In more than a decade in power, Chávez used the legitimacy he earned through popular election and a series of referendums to weaken or in some cases dismantle the institutions of democratic government. His tactics have ranged from rewriting the country’s constitution to stacking the judiciary with loyalists and supporters.
But no institution has been more radically transformed than the media.
When Chávez first took office he was backed by a portion of the country’s private media. But the relationship soon soured, and as street protests mounted in 2002 many media companies, including the national broadcast networks, abandoned any semblance of objectivity and rallied beside the opposition.… Seguir leyendo »