The ongoing war on journalists

Warning: Reporting what’s happening in Venezuela could be hazardous to your health.

Much has been said about the enormous pressure the government has applied on both domestic and foreign media in the current crisis, but that’s not the entire story. Many journalists on the ground have become direct targets of violence over the last few days

According to this list released on Sunday by the National Press Workers’ Union (SNTP), at least 62 press workers (including camera operators, photographers, production crew members, and others) have been victims of abuse and/or harassment by either police forces, the National Guard, irregular armed groups or protesters:

BhLyi9JCIAA4agfMost victims work for Venezuelan news outlets, yet the number of international correspondents involved in those incidents is considerable. From France Presse to Deutsche Welle to CNN en Español, from Colombia’s Caracol to Brazilian TV channel SBT, it looks like the pressure against international media is growing, and that includes those trying to cover the situation first-hand.

For a chilling account of what one of these aggressions can be like, check out independent photographer Gabriel Osorio’s chronicle on ProDaVinci. 

Me rodearon. Los que no llevaban máscaras usaban cascos antimotines, con visor deplexiglass. Al menos dos de ellos llevaban pistolas en la mano. Me empujaron contra la pared. Me pidieron la cámara y trataron de arrancármela. Como no la solté, amenazaron con “llevarme”. En ese momento alguien dio una orden y entre varios me tomaron de los brazos para llevarme a otro sitio. Me empujaron de nuevo. Yo repetí que trabajaba en prensa. Dije que no iba a entregar la cámara porque se trataba de mi instrumento de trabajo. Ni la cámara ni la máscara antigás. No tenía dudas de que si me la quitaba iba dejar de ver y de respirar en tan solo segundos. Me empujaron de nuevo y trataron de inmovilizarme. En ese momento uno de ellos me golpeó en la cabeza con su pistola y caí al suelo. Al tratar de levantarme recibí otro golpe fuerte en la cabeza. Este último fue un golpe seco. Implacable.

Serious shit.

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  1. And in spite of even oppression and violence against fellow journalists, the international press is still not outraged. I have a theory about this… For many years, the international press allowed Chavez to seduce the pants right off of them. To turn on Chavismo now, will mean admitting to themselves that they got rolled.


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