Photo: DW retrieved

On the morning of August 4, the signal of Deutsche Welle (DW) was taken off the air from Venezuelan pay-TV services for an hour. The reason wasapparentlyto block the broadcast of the documentary film titled “Venezuela: Escape From a Failed State”.

Venezuelan journalist Gabriel Bastidas (along with other Twitter users) got confirmation from satellite TV provider DirecTV that this was done under orders of Venezuelan broadcasting and telecommunications regulator CONATEL.

But CONATEL denied it on its own Twitter account and catalogued  the reports as “fake news”.

This kind of censorship isn’t new in Venezuela, as last year several pay-TV carriers in border states were forced to block the Colombian channel RCN during the transmission of “El Comandante”, the TV series inspired in the life and times of the late Hugo Chávez Frías.

DW could at any moment face the very same fate of CNN en Español and Caracol TV.

That practice has gotten as far as to extend to local radio: Radio stations are getting requests from the broadcasting authority to withdraw programs. Some of them have no option but to comply.

On Monday, Deutsche Welle attempted to request information from CONATEL, with no response. Caracas Chronicles got a press release from DW addressing the incident, including this quote from Guido Baumhauer, DW’s Managing Director of Distribution, Marketing and Technology:

Interrupting the broadcast of DW’s documentary violates the right to free speech.

“Deutsche Welle protests against the interruption of DW’s broadcasts in the channels of several distribution partners during the emission of a documentary about the situation in Venezuela. Interrupting the broadcast of DW’s documentary violates the right to free speech…”

Baumhauser also showed his solidarity with the Venezuelan press and specially with the journalists detained after the alleged attempt on Nicolas Maduro’s life and released hours later.

Still, the government’s pressure against non-hegemony press is expected to continue: Diosdado Cabello blamed the press for its “involvement” in Saturday’s incident.

Our solidarity with DW for this uncalled and unjustified act of censorship, which is a natural consequence of offering a well-rounded coverage of Venezuela.

Update: The documentary was also blocked on YouTube.

It used to be available here.

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    • The documentary consists largely of interviews with individuals in Caracas and in Cucuta about the extreme hardships they are facing, including lack of access to medical treatment and widespread and severe hunger and malnutrition. It also documents some of the barriers the regime has thrown up to outside organizations getting aid to people, and the violent crackdowns on protests. It is well worth watching. I was particularly struck by an interview with a poor, elderly lady who clearly is starving, who refused on principle to obtain a carnet de la patria.

      That the regime is making this attempt to cover up the documentary is a testament to its simple, raw truths, and a shameless confirmation of the regime’s guilt in all of this. It is available on YouTube, however I think it is also available through the DW website. That would be the preferred route as watching documentaries posted on YouTube hurts documentary makers.

  1. I watched it. I can understand why a repressive dictatorial regime wouldn’t want it seen. There really isn’t a rebuttal other than a denial of everything mentioned. There isn’t a way to spin it.

  2. Use YouTube TV or look up the DW channel in regular YouTube. It’s one more depressing well made documentary of Venezolanos fugitives. Or mostly cowards that don’t even try to save dignity. A bunch of them recently rioted in mall in Peru. These fellows will not improve the cowardice display of the Guardia Nacional in recent events about some bomb explosions using drones. The most comical way to scare Madburro and his wife, who left a trial of shit when running away.

    • Thanks. I watched it.

      A lot of the same old, same old…but it’s still good to see something recent.

      Also heartwarming to see Colombians helping, but they didn’t show the ugly side of that. The resentment from many Colombians.


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