To illustrate how the once-critical Caracas daily El Universal has cozied up to Venezuela's socialist government in the wake of its sale in July, it helps to examine the newspaper's coverage of the current oil price plunge.
At a bizarre news conference in April, Bolivia's Communications Minister Amanda Dávila claimed that journalist Raúl Peñaranda, who was born in Chile, represented a dangerous "beachhead" for Chilean interests trying to deny landlocked Bolivia access to the Pacific.
Amid skyrocketing inflation and shortages of basic goods, Venezuelan authorities claim that an "economic war" is being waged against the socialist government of President Nicolás Maduro. The government is striking back by forcing stores to discount prices, by arresting business owners accused of hoarding--and by targeting journalists trying to cover the grim economic news.
The Chávez administration has used an array of legislation, threats, and regulatory measures to gradually break down Venezuela’s independent press while building up a state media empire—a complete reversal of the previous landscape. One result: Vital issues are going uncovered in an election year. A CPJ special report by Monica Campbell
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