Saturday, February 03, 2007

No Free Media in Venezuela?

Here is a piece giving just one example of the extaordinary freedom Venezuelan media enjoys from Hands Off Venezuela - a fantastic global solidarity group. I (re)found them after checking out their lively 10 minute English video here

01 February 2007

Much of the media internationally repeat the lies and half truths about the alleged "lack of freedom of the media" in Venezuela. Today's editorial and front page of the opposition newspaper TalCual, comparing Hugo Chavez with Hitler, would have gotten the editor on trial in most Western democratic countries. In Venezuela it is allowed to publish freely. Have a look.

TalCual is run by Teodoro Petkoff, a former leftist who was in charge of privatisations during the Caldera government and one of the main advisors to opposition candidate Manuel Rosales in the December presidential elections.

The same newspaper, on September 26th, 2003, published a front page picture showing Hugo Chavez holding a 9 mm handgun at a public rally with a headline saying "At gun point". The small problem was that what Chavez was really holding at that public rally was ... a rose, and the picture was in fact a photomontage.

In fact, as many in the alternative, community and free media in Venezuela insist, the main concern is not over freedom of expression, but rather over the right to truthful information.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Venezuela does have more press freedom than, say, the former Soviet Union. That's true. And dissenting voices do exist. Which is good.

I think the problem is that Chavez appears poised to curtail the freedoms which currently exist.

The right to truthful informtion is fine, but the articles you've shown are clearly satire/parody as part of an opinion piece. (See, e.g., depictions of George W. Bush as a chimpanzee) No one would confuse them with serious news reporting. The photomontage is obvious and deliberate. It would be a different story if the article was trying to say that Chavez waved a gun at a public speech.

That would be libel in most countries that permit free expression, but permissible if it's a metaphor expressing a political opinion.

-A Human Rights Lawyer

5:06 PM  

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