Since recent protests began in Venezuela, the government has increased its abuse of the “national blanket broadcast” to criticize activists and promote its own political agenda.
In 2013, Venezuelan president Nicolás Maduro utilized the “national blanket broadcast” (cadena nacional) 202 times for a total of 169 horas (28 minutes every day).* During election campaigns–and also now as nationwide anti-government protests are underway in Venezuela–the president has increased the abuse of this communication strategy.
During the weeks leading up to municipal elections in December 2013, Maduro utilized the “national blanket broadcasts” an average of 45 minutes every day, a substantial increase over typical use during the same year.
Increases in this abuse of power on Venezuelan State airwaves have been even more pronounced during the anti-government student protesters in February 2014, as Maduro and others regularly demonize protesters and opposition leaders. Over the last ten days, the president has utilized these mandatory broadcasts an average of 1 hour and 42 minutes each day, representing a 264% increase over the 2013 average.
According to the “Chain-o-meter” (cadenómetro), maintained by the Venezuelan non-profit organization Citizen Monitoring (Monitoreo Ciudadano), Maduro’s use of the national broadcasts to promote his political position has been constant since he assumed power as president, yet greatly increased in recent days.**
2013 Nicolás Maduro media campaign:
- 169 hours of Maduro on “national blanket broadcasts”
- 202 transmissions
- 28 minutes every day (average)
Nicolás Maduro media campaign during anti-government protests:
- 13 hours of Maduro on “national blanket broadcasts”
- 8 transmissions
- 1 hour and 42 minutes every day (average)
Political use of State media is a clear abuse of power and of public resources. This abuse of government media violates the Venezuelan constitution, the Anti-Corruption Law and other Venezuelan laws.
*What is a national blanket broadcast? – A cadena nacional, “national chain” or “national blanket broadcast” in Venezuela is an obligatory government transmission that–by law–must be aired by all domestic radio and television stations, thereby allowing Nicolás Maduro (or any government official) to commandeer all national airwaves at will–whenever he wants and for as long as he wants.
**How many hours? – The “Chain-o-meter” (cadenómetro) is a counter of the total number of hours that the Venezuelan government has abused the “national blanket broadcast” (cadena nacional) and the entire national public media system, including all domestic public and private radio and television stations. Political use of these national broadcasts is an abuse of power and violates the Venezuelan constitution. It is important to denounce these violations and demand real democracy.
Video playlist of abuse of power on Venezuelan State media