Venezuela Battles Media, Social and Otherwise


At least seven journalists for CNN International and CNN Espa__ol reported that their press credentials had bee...


At least seven journalists for CNN International and CNN Espa__ol reported that their press credentials had been revoked, and that authorities had asked some of them when they planned to leave the country.

The move came after President Nicol__s Maduro slammed CNN on Thursday for broadcasting what he called _war propaganda,_ and said that if the network didn_t change its reporting he would shut down the channels. _CNN, its programming, is 24/7 war programming. They want to show the world that in Venezuela there is a civil war,_ Mr. Maduro said. _If they do not rectify things, get out of Venezuela, CNN, get out!_

(This isn_t the first time Mr. Maduro has questioned CNN_s motives. Last May, he called the network _a broadcaster that works at the behest of destabilization, that calls openly for a coup d___tat in Venezuela._)

On Wednesday, CNN reported, the cameras of one of its crews were confiscated by armed men during reporting on the protests.

Still, the expulsions took some by surprise, given the lengths CNN went to to cover both sides of the protests in an increasingly polarized Venezuela. It recently interviewed the foreign minister, Elias Jaua, and other prominent Chavistas, as supporters of Hugo Ch__vez, the deceased president, are called. On Thursday, a news anchor, Patricia Janiot, hosted a lively back-and-forth between pro- and anti-government students.

After the government revoked her press credentials, Ms. Janiot said in a broadcast from Atlanta on Friday that she had been subjected to _harassment_ at the airport as she was leaving Venezuela. She also took the opportunity to suggest that President Maduro should sit down for an interview with her.

And CNN isn_t the only media outlet under siege. Reporters have been detained, beaten and robbed, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists. _Media blackouts, arrests and a campaign of harassment against dissenting voices has become a hallmark of this administration,_ the group_s deputy director said on Thursday.

At times, the government_s reach extended beyond traditional media, stifling access to news online. Last week Venezuelan Twitter users periodically lost access to photos on the platform, and this week, the Electronic Frontier Foundation noted, an entire city _ San Cristobal, an opposition stronghold in the state of T__chira _ reportedly lost Internet connectivity altogether. (El Universal reported that service was being restored Friday evening.)

International media organizations have also raised alarm about attacks on the press. Reporters Without Borders issued a scathing statement Tuesday that said it _condemns these acts of arbitrary censorship,_ and added: _controlling information will do nothing but poison the current situation._

An association of Spanish journalists also denounced the _genuine information blackout_ in Venezuela and said in a statement: _The freedom of the press is a fundamental right in democracies, which is why all efforts to cut it off are a grave setback._

Meanwhile, the list of casualties has grown. On Friday, the country_s attorney general put the death toll at eight, and said 137 other people had been injured in the continuing unrest.

Laments for the death of Genesis Carmona, a 22-year-old beauty queen who was fatally shot, spread quickly across social media. But the same attack that killed Ms. Carmona also left a lesser-known student, Enyerson Ramos, in critical condition with a gunshot wound that perforated his lung, El Mundo reported.

Wrenching video posted online showed the injured student_s aunt, Liliana Guit__rrez, overwhelmed with emotion as she spoke to reporters. _Enough with _fascists_; we aren_t fascists. We are Venezuelans,_ she said in reference to President Maduro_s affinity for referring to protesters as fascists. _Venezuelans who are hurting from all that_s happening in this country,_ she said. _Here, ideas are fought with bullets._

The governor of Carabobo, the state where the march took place, tweeted an ominous directive to government supporters Sunday night: _prepare yourselves for the sudden counterattack._

The Ledge | By NATALIE KITROEFF__

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