February 23, 2015
Until recently, Venezuelans could find powerful information on sensitive issues such as Chávez’s health (he died of cancer in 2013), shocking crime statistics (the second highest murder rate in the world), and state management of the energy sector ( including the world’s largest oil reserves).
But things change in the first half of 2014, with violent clashes between protesters and the police. Student protests in response to a crime on a university campus spread to become a real crisis for Maduro. When the deaths and injuries began to multiply, the government closed NTN24, an international cable channel that covered the information. He blocked all images on Twitter. Journalists, photographers and camera operators were detained and beaten. State media barely reported on the violence and the motives behind the protests. Particularly surprising was the weak coverage on Globovisión, a 24-hour news channel. A few months earlier it had been acquired by an insurer supposedly close to the Maduro regime. It had been the last television station critical of the government.
In Ultimas Noticias, the investigative team led by Tamoa Calzadilla got a great scoop: a video showing plainclothes police and officers shooting at a group of fleeing protesters and killing one of them. Although the newspaper had just changed hands, Calzadilla and his team posted the video on the Internet. His reporting led to the first arrests of members of the security forces. But shortly after, the president of the group that owns the newspaper resigned and was replaced by an ally of the party in the government.
The following month, Calzadilla presented the new director with a report on protesters and police preparing for the clashes in Caracas. Account that it refused to emit it unless it said that the protesters were financed by the United States (there was no evidence of this). Instead of doing so, Calzadilla resigned and, before leaving the building, he tweeted the phrase: “Journalism first.”
via The gag in the digital age | International | THE COUNTRY.
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