The deputies that make up the Delegate Commission of the National Assembly (AN), strongly condemned the systematic violation of freedom of expression and of the press, by Nicolás Maduro’s dictatorship. As a consequence, they expressed solidarity with the union, demanded an end to the persecution, harassment and criminalization of journalistic activity in Venezuela. Also, they ratified their commitment to a tireless fight for a free press and the right to be informed.
The new escalation of attacks against the free press occurred on January 8th, when it particularly affected the international news channel VPI-TV and the informational web portals: Panorama, Efecto Cocuyo, Diario Tal, Caraota Digital, El Pitazo and Radio Fe y Alegría. Where they were raided, equipment stolen, cyber attacked, closed or criminalized, during a joint operation between the telecommunications regulatory entity, CONATEL, and the tax collection entity, SENIAT.
The president (E) of the Republic of Venezuela, Juan Guaidó, and of the legitimate National Assembly, denounced the annihilation of democracy and freedom of expression that has been curtailed to prevent the right to be informed, as it is a threat to the dictatorship and stressed that only 7.7% of the total Venezuelan population has access to the internet. This limits the possibility of communication and consulting the different informational web portals to know about the daily events. Most media opted for a digital format due to the lack of paper to print newspapers .
CONATEL and SENIAT
The deputies deputies Jony Rahal and Sonia Medina, president and vice president of the Permanent Commission for Media, respectively, of the National Assembly, rejected and branded the actions against the media by CONATEL and SENIAT “repressive, abusive, arbitrary and outside the law”, and alerted the international community about these new modus operandi used by the dictatorship, through public bodies “to extort and silence freedom of expression in Venezuela.”
The parliamentarian indicated that the legislative body has for 5 years been documenting and making visible the progressive systematic violations of freedom of expression and the perverse mechanisms implemented by of the dictatorship to create a communicational hegemony of censorship, self-censorship and extortion against the media in Venezuela.
Rahal warned that any official who executes the orders of the usurpers, designated as criminals against humanity by international justice, are also committing crimes against humanity, and will have to face the authorities for taking these illegal actions. “We will continue to denounce with first and last names, the officials who commit these attacks so that when there is freedom in Venezuela. Justice will be done.”
Freedom of the press restrictions
For her part, the vice president of the Media Commission, deputy Sonia Medina, asserted that all authoritarian regimes, including the one led by Maduro, have always aimed to silence the free press, communication and timely information because for them this represents “an affront.”
She praised the work of professional journalists in Venezuela, who in her opinion, under this dictatorship should be considered “heroes and heroines” for facing unjust persecution, torture, imprisonment, physical, verbal and moral aggression for the valuable right to inform the population of the vicissitudes that happen in the country.
Next, the legislator Deyalitza Aray, vice president of the Permanent Commission of Cults and Penitentiary Regime, denounced that the systematic attack on the media is a reiterated State policy unleashed by the dictatorship to prevent making visible the reality that exists in Venezuela and affirmed that these arbitrary acts will add to the file of human rights violations commited by the usurper.
Finally, parliamentarian Alexis Paparoni, president of the Permanent Commission for Culture and Recreation, took the floor condemning the smear campaign against the free press through the official channels of the usurpation such as Venezolana de Televisión (VTV) and Globovisión and recalled that since 1999, the regimes of Hugo Chávez and Nicolás Maduro have perpetrated innumerable blows against the media, journalists and press workers, which has led to place Venezuela as the second Latin American country where most laws are not respected as guarantees of journalistic work, surpassed only by the Cuban dictatorship.