Interview with Venezuelan Press


Venezuelan Press

I started contacting with embassies and organizations many weeks ago, looking for an interview, although I received many responses, I decided to choose the Venezuelan Press because of its important role in Venezuelan journalism and its actions to achieve justice.

Carleth Morales Senges, President of Venezuelan Press, started talking about the history and values that this association has. The Association of Venezuelan journalists in Spain, registered the Venezuelan Press in May 2015, although its origin goes back to 2007, the date in which a group of Venezuelan journalists began, organizing meetings in Madrid with relevant Venezuelan’ citizens, who arrived to Spain to report firsthand what was happening in Venezuela. Currently it is formed by more than 300 Venezuelan communicators residing in Spain and 19 Members of Honor, outstanding figures linked to the field of communication in Venezuela and Spain. 

It has two clearly defined objectives, to help the partners in their social and labor insertion in Spain, and to serve as sound board in the battle the guild has in Venezuela in defense of freedom of expression.

We had a cordial conversation about the actual and complicated situation of Venezuela.Freedom of expression, consecrated in article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, from which freedom of the press derives, is one of the many fundamental rights violated today in Venezuela. A dossier by “Reporteros Sin Fronteras” corroborates this: Venezuela is situated as 139 in the ranking of 180 countries studied for freedom of the press, a position that drops between two and three points each year. Freedom of expression and information in Venezuela is deteriorating constantly, united with the intensification of the economic and social crisis that hit the country. The 2,648 cases of violations of press freedom in the past 15 years -between 2001 and 2016- registered by the IPYS( Instituto Prensa y Sociedad Venezuela), give good account of it.

We are also interested in the news, are the news published in this country really trustworthy? According to Venezuelan Press, what happens in Venezuela is that there is a communicational hegemony exercised by the government. A clear example is the access of newsprint, controlled by the Government, which has forced many print media to close, to reduce their pages or to not publish on weekends or holidays.

When President Nicolas Maduro came to power, there were 115 print media and today there are less than 80, and only one of them is independent and of national circulation. According to a study by the IPYS: The purchase of media in Venezuela registered in the last five years has determined a form of censorship and self-censorship in the exercise of journalism.

Also, Maduro and some high ranking people have radio and television programs through which they speaks to the country, live, for hours. Programs like: “En contacto con Maduro”, “La hora de la salsa”or “Con el mazo dando”, are some of them, direct channels with direct access to the population and the world making them effective communication tools for their goals. The abuse of power is public and notorious in these programs, where an inappropriate language is already a constant.

In Venezuela there is not only censorship in the press or television, also the freedom of expression is violated. Everyone knows about the case of Leopoldo López, the opponent imprisoned for supposedly organizing the demonstrations of “La Salida” in 2014. He has been sentenced to 13 years and 9 months of prison only for stating his opinion and for fight peacefully for the freedom of his country.

To fight this situation of lack of freedom, Venezuelan Press carries out a campaign under the motto #VenezuelaSOSnow, a help call addressed to the International Organizations that watch over Human Rights, motivated by the constant violation of Human Rights in Venezuela. The extreme situation in the country has so far generated several reactions in the International Community, but the country calls for a reliable pronouncement to relieve internal stress. Demonstrators call for more support for the implementation of international treaties, guarantors of human rights, and that will not become wet paper. That’s the aim of the #VenezuelaSOSnow campaign, which will remain on the networks as long as fundamental rights are violated in Venezuela. All of this has caused a panic situation, with daily demonstrations that the Government suppresses with the use violence without a doubt. Also, migration is booming, many Venezuelans are forced to leave their country.

Those issues could end up in the future scenario proposed by Josep Maldonado(former parliament member and former Spanish senator) in a recent interview for Venezuelan Press he affirmed: “I fear for a civil war in Venezuela”. This perception is shared by other actors in the national and international scene, but it is very difficult to predict, for there are countless factors that would have to intervene and it is an ending that we all hope will not come to pass.

In conclusion, if we want to change Venezuela’s situation, the solution to this crisis involves respect for the Constitution, the laws, rules and international treaties, which respect Human Rights in their full dimension. If this does not change, the international community should strengthen its measures in order to bring order and peace in Venezuela.

 

Irene Matamoros Flores.

 

 

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