The Maduro regime’s telecommunications regulation body, CONATEL, announced today that it was launching a formal investigation against Televen, one of the few remaining private broadcasters in Venezuela, over footage that aired on the network during the Constituent Assembly vote last year.
Venezuela has laws that strictly regulate what networks can broadcast and when. CONATEL alleges that Televen violated the “Law of Social Responsibility in Radio, Television and Electronic Media” when it aired live images of protest violence that took place in July 30 of last year.
On July 30, as small numbers of regime supporters trickled into voting centres around the country, tens of thousands of people took to the streets of the country to protest the Constituent Assembly election, which they considered to be fraudulent. At least 15 people were killed in violent clashes with regime forces that day.
When Minister of Communication Jorge Rodriguez was asked by a journalist on the evening of July 30 if he could speak to the deaths, Rodriguez laughed and dismissed the question as nonsense.
CONATEL alleges that in airing live images of the July 30 protests, Televen violated article 27 of the Social Responsibility law, which states:
Radio, television and electronic media services are not permitted to transmit messages that:
Incite or promote hate and intolerance for religious, political, gender, racist or xenophobic reasons.
Incite or promote and/or defend crime.
Constitute war propaganda.
Instigate unrest among the citizenry or alter public order.
Undermine the authorities, which have been legally constituted [Note: The original phrase is difficult to translate, and reads: “Desconozcan a las autoridades legitimamente constituidas”].
Incite or promote non-compliance with the juridical order that is in effect.
The wording of the article is vague enough so as to allow the authorities to allege–as appears to be the case here–that the mere broadcasting of a news event constitutes a breach of one or several of the seven points above.
On July 31, Maduro chastised Televen and another private network, Venevision, for reporting on the Constituent Assembly protests. During a televised address, Maduro said:
What they did is unacceptable (…) I want public answers from the owners of Venevision and Televen. Are they committed to the Constitution and democracy, or will we have to take severe measures against you?
Two Journalists Arrested in Tachira State
The Dirección General de Contrainteligencia Militar [Directorate General of Military Counterintelligence] (DGCIM) arrested two journalists in the Lobatera municipality in Tachira state earlier this afternoon. The two men were covering a military parade taking place in the municipality at the time of their arrests. The National Press Worker’s Syndicate (SNTP) said through a tweet that the two were detained along with their journalistic equipment, which was “inspected” by the authorities.
The SNTP also revealed that the arrested journalists are Rene Mendez with the NTN24 network, and Daniel Caceres with France’s AFP.
The SNTP later announced that the two men had been released after being detained for four hours, and that the authorities “deleted all” of the data on the journalists’ equipment.
Noticiero Digital: Regime, Opposition Negotiating Moving Election Date
Noticiero Digital reported today that the Maduro regime and the opposition bloc Mesa de la Unidad Democratica (MUD) are currently engaged in negotiations to possibly push the date of the April 22 presidential election back at least one month. The website reports that representatives from the two sides met yesterday to discuss the matter, and that the meeting included Minister of Communication Jorge Rodriguez.
The website cites “opposition sources” as saying that the two sides discussed pushing the election back to May 20, but that they also discussed holding the presidential vote in June.
Maduro Oversees Military Drill
Maduro oversaw a military drill today titled Ejercicio de Accion Defensiva Multidimensional “Independencia 2018” [National Multidimensional Defensive Action Exercise “Independence” 2018].
Below, Maduro stands alongside members of the National Bolivarian Armed Forces as well as vice president Tarek El Aissami (to his left). The tweet below also includes images of what appear to be commercial drones with military camouflage:
Below, more military equipment, including an anti-aircraft piece and a truck:
Today marks the four year anniversary since the start of this blog.
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