New York, February 15, 2017–Venezuela’s state telecommunications regulator Conatel today ordered transmissions of CNN en Español to be suspended in the country, according to reports. A statement from the regulator said that Conatel was initiating administrative proceedings against the Spanish-language channel of CNN, which it said distorted the truth and “attack[ed] the peace and democratic stability of the Venezuelan people.”
“Venezuela’s decision to take CNN en Español off the air is yet another serious blow to freedom of expression in the country and clearly indicates that the government of President Maduro is willing to widen its censorship power to restrict any critical coverage,” said Carlos Lauría, CPJ’s senior program coordinator for the Americas. “We urge Venezuelan authorities to immediately restore CNN en Español’s signal in Venezuela and ensure that Venezuelans can access vital information.”
The order comes days after Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro announced at a rally on February 12 that he wanted CNN out of the country and accused the outlet of manipulating the news. His comments were made after CNN en Español aired a report alleging that officials at the Venezuelan embassy in Iraq sold passports and visas to suspected terrorists.