Two weeks ago, this blog reported about the open case of censorship at Ultimas Noticias, Venezuela’s most popular newspaper, and the protest of their journalist staff. The stand-off ended with the resignation of Tamoa Calzadilla, the head of its investigative journalism unit.
Now, Calzadilla has decided to tell the entire story of all the changes inside the holding company that owned Últimas Noticias, Cadena Capriles (CC), ever since it was bought last year. To this day, public details about the group’s new owner(s) are shrouded in deep mystery.
In her account, she explains the important role of Ultimas Noticias’ director Eleazar Diaz Rangel, along with the fact that people involved with chavismo were brought into CC’s staff. These include former PSUV deputy and head of State Radio (RNV) Desiré Santos Amaral and the former governor of Anzoátegui, David D’Lima, the recently named chairman of CC.
Calzadilla’s tale shows in full detail how the government and CC’s new ownership have tried to change the editorial line of CC’s papers (especially Ultimas Noticias) to get close to the communicational hegemony’s agenda. And in exchange for that, they’re getting their special reward.
Her chronicle is well worth the read, but I would like to share her reason to go public with this story:
If I’m making this story public is so people find out of the current situation inside the country’s media outlets, where many valuable and persevering workers fight every day to make things better. I’ve seen journalists swallow their own tears because of their director’s refusal to publish something on the front page. I’ve also seen human rights violations claims compiled by (NGO) Penal Forum pushed aside from the front page in favor of the official version which minimizes them. I’ve seen people getting mad after being defeated, and sitting down again to fight on, to investigate. I’ve seen assemblies where journalists upheld the Ethical Code allowing them to participate in the (media oultet’s) editorial line. I’ve shared with others the dissapointment for headlines that are not news, but rather flattery for a government that, by the way, never feels satisfied…
Journalism is done with transparency or it’s never done at all… Journalism comes first.”
Ms. Calzadilla, you’re right. Thanks for sharing your experience and good luck. #ElPeriodismoPrimero