A few months after Nicolás Maduro’s took position in March 2013, Reporters Without Borders ranked Venezuela 117th out of 179 countries with respect to freedom of expression.
After four years the political scene has not improved. According to the Venezuelan Press and Society Institute, which recently presented its third study of censorship and self-censorship after consulting 252 journalists from 18 states in the country, three themes are taboo for Venezuelan journalism: health, insecurity and lack of supply.
Another conclusion reached by the organization Venezuelan Press and Society Institute is that journalists go out to the streets to cover demonstrations or protests “for fear of being violently repressed.” The fear is increased in the coverage of possible acts of corruption “facing the possibility of judicial proceedings for crimes of defamation and insult,” since the Venezuelan Code of Criminal Procedure describe as crimes the opinions that criticize the government.
For Marianela Balbi, executive director of IPYSV there is a speech of fear to curtail freedom of expression.
“Today we are much more sure of how close we are to a dictatorship, which seeks to exercise dominion through the terror. In this context, the independent media are an obstacle to overthrow in order to exercise communication hegemony, fueled by media control, harassment of independent journalism, the opacity of public information and the construction of its own referents and communicational meanings to manipulate of reality, “says Balbi.
The report also emphasized the lack of autonomy of state powers and the lack of a public policy that guarantees the right to Internet in Venezuela.