Analysis | English | 11 agosto 2013

Encirclement of independent journalism in Venezuela

maru morales el nacional asamblea nacional

We have argued that in Venezuela, in terms of media and journalism, there is a model that we call mixed-authoritarian. The model maintains the private ownership of the media, but systematic restrictions prevail over independent journalism. This gives as a result a non free media and communication society.

A video recently produced by Monitoreo Ciudadano, which is part of Monitor Legislativo (, reveals how consistently independent journalism work in Venezuela has been fencing. It revolves around restrictions imposed on journalists and particularly Maru Morales of El Nacional Newspaper within the National Assembly. The testimony of this colleague does not stop only on facts that affected her, but also describes working environment in which journalists are always making a real effort to impartially report on what happens indoors in the Legislative Palace.

The video can be seen on website First thing Maru Morales concerns, has to do with the qualitative change that was initiated in late 2010, after Chavez lost the elections for the National Assembly, beginning and institutional propaganda allowing the imbalance that persists today in our parliament, despite the fact that votes were peer between government and opposition.

Until the 2010, which was precisely the moment in which Morales Maru joins parliamentary coverage with El Nacional, already journalists were banned from entering the chamber session, could only freely move through different areas of the National Assembly, ought to be sufficient to do their work independently. Even something as basic journalistic work, such as conducting press conferences, could be done then.

It must be remembered that within the “paquetazo” of laws passed in December 2010, shortly before elected deputies assume their positions, a reform of rules of procedure of the National Assembly debates was added. This instrument has been highly harmful and restrictive. Access of journalists was denied and the only Tv signal permitted to transmit what happens within the legislative body is ANTV, which is not neutral. During the recent acts of violence against members of the Bureau of Democratic Unity (MUD), ANTV signal simply censured such events and broadcast regular television programs instead.

The record of what Morales said allows to understand restrictive situation starting in 2010. The following year access was limited were offices of deputies and assistants are, which obviously placed another barrier to access of independent journalism. In 2012, entry of journalists was exclusively limited days when sessions occurred, journalists should register (as mandatory standard) every opportunity that should enter (once there was a permanent card that facilitates access of them). Journalists free access to a public building is not a privilege, it is the duty of the state to precisely place the decisions emanating from the powers in the hands of citizens. Right now reporters cannot interview or even approach a deputy in the National Assembly halls, without any prior formal appointment.

Maru Morales when relating this process of generalized constraints within the National Assembly, in the pages of El Nacional, had a custom restriction that included a ban on entering the legislative seat. She was punished for reporting. In an unprecedented case in Venezuela, this reporter filed an appeal before the Supreme Court of Justice (TSJ) in order to remain as a reporter of parliamentary source. I invite you to view and share this video as a way to support independent journalism in Venezuela. It is in


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