As election nears, Venezuela censors coverage

Self-censorship and Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro's (right) control of the media has distorted election coverage in the country and deprived voters of vital information about the presidential candidates, including opposition front-runner Edmundo González (left). Photo: Reuters)
Self-censorship and Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro’s (right) control of the media has distorted election coverage in the country and deprived voters of vital information about the presidential candidates, including opposition front-runner Edmundo González (left). (Photos: Reuters)

Antonio Di Giampaolo has hosted his popular radio news program En el Aire, Spanish for “On the Air,” for nearly 40 years. On May 17, Di Giampaolo planned to broadcast an interview with opposition presidential candidate Edmundo González, but executives at the station Éxitos 93.1 FM nixed the plan with no explanation, according to the journalist.

Di Giampaolo believes the radio station did not want to risk offending President Nicolás Maduro, who will face González at the polls on July 28 in a critical presidential election.

The episode typifies how government control of the media and self-censorship has distorted election coverage in Venezuela and deprived voters of vital information about the presidential candidates, according to journalists and press freedom groups who spoke with CPJ.

To veteran press watchers, none of this comes as a surprise. They point out that the Maduro government has spent its 11 years in power closing TV and radio stations, blocking news websites, confiscating newspapers and fomenting fear and self-censorship.

Seventh journalist slain this year in Pakistan
CCTV footage shows two men who were on a motorbike and opened fire on Pakistani journalist Malik Hassan Zaib while inside a car on July 14.
CCTV footage shows two men who were on a motorbike and opened fire on Pakistani journalist Malik Hassan Zaib while he was inside a car on July 14. (Screenshot: ARY News/YouTube)

The July 14 shooting of reporter Malik Hassan Zaib has brought the death toll to seven journalists killed in Pakistan since the start of the year.

Hassan Zaib, who worked for the privately owned Urdu-language newspaper Daily Aaj, was in a car with his brother in the northwestern city of Peshawar when two unidentified assailants on a motorbike stopped the vehicle and shot the journalist dead, according to news reports.

“The continued impunity for those who attack journalists is creating an atmosphere of fear and intimidation in Pakistan, which prevents the practice of free and independent journalism,” said CPJ Program Director Carlos Martínez de la Serna.

CPJ is continuing to investigate the motives behind the attacks.


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Journalists Attacked

Myat Thu Tan

MURDERED

Myat Thu Tan, a contributor to the local news website Western News and correspondent for several independent Myanmar news outlets, was shot and killed on January 31, 2024, while in military custody in Mrauk-U in Myanmar’s western Rakhine State.

He was arrested on September 22, 2022, and held in pre-trial detention under a broad provision of the penal code that criminalizes incitement and the dissemination of false news for critical posts he made on his Facebook page. Myat Thu Tan had not been tried or convicted at the time of his death.

The journalist’s body was found buried in a bomb shelter, with the bodies of six other political detainees, and showed signs of torture.

Myanmar’s military junta has cracked down on journalists and media outlets since seizing power in a February 2021 coup.

In at least 8 out of 10 cases, the murderers of journalists go free. CPJ is waging a global campaign against impunity.

journalists killed in 2024 (motive confirmed)
imprisoned in 2023
missing globally