Countdown to Newsprint-geddon

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No newsprint, no newspapers

As reported in earlier posts, the ongoing newsprint shortage crisis has been deepening in the last few weeks with more newspapers closing shop, and others being forced to heavily reduce their content.

This week, the National Press Workers’ Union (SNTP) staged a protest in front of the main offices of CADIVI, demanding that the multiple currency requests made to buy newsprint are processed ASAP.

As for those newspapers who finally got their requests attended like Barquisimeto’s El Impulso, things could get worse before they get better. The 110-year old paper could still go out of print next month because of bad timing and multiple administrative obstacles involved in actually getting the paper. Its director, Carlos Eduardo Carmona has also complained that some official voices have asked him to “turn down the volume and not politicize the situation.”

The response from the government has been to ask the papers for patience, as they claim they’re doing all they can to solve the issue. But PSUV deputy and journalist Earle Herrera has blamed the newspapers themselves, accusing them of “hoarding” newsprint and/or reselling it at higher prices. However, he also admitted that the entire procedure to ask for currency is “too complicated.”

Major national newspapers could soon face the same fate as that of their local counterparts (El Nacional has newsprint reserves for the next month only, and El Universal can hold on at least until April). But the newsprint crisis is just one of the multiple fronts in the current deterioration of free press in Venezuela – the 2013 report by NGO Espacio Público … speaks for itself.