State Raw Materials Monopoly Threatens Venezuela Journalism

Independent journalism has been threatened by the Maduro government’s refusal to allocate raw materials (La Patilla).

(TODAY VENEZUELA) At least 13 print media publications in Venezuela were affected by the lack of raw materials in the last half of the year. For this reason, many have been forced to cut the circulation of their newspapers.

The Venezuelan Institute of Press and Society (Ipys) warned that the lack of paper products in the South American country will only intensify the spread of misinformation, as the government increasingly puts pressure on independent media outlets.

The institute made this assessment in wake of the news that the independent regional daily El Impulso reported that it will only circulate until January 31 due to lack of paper.

“Venezuelan press outlets have had temporary forced closures in the past; some for a week or a month. The Impulse would be the first case of indefinite cessation of circulation after December 31, “said Mariengracia Chirinos, director of Freedom of Information for Ipys Venezuela.

Chirinos explained that the situation has been occurring from 2013 on, and that it is a result of the centralization of the importation of material for newspaper that is a function of the Venezuelan state.In Venezuela it is the executive branch which decides which news mediums are given the hard currency and the raw materials in order to be able to print and circulate. However, only independent media outlets, likely to be more anti-government in their outlook, have been affected by the lack of raw materials.

In the past three years, about 48 print media publications have reported difficulties in accessing raw materials and have been forced to reduce their publishing; around 14 newspapers have been forced to temporarily suspend circulation, according to figures from the organization.

Nicolas Maduro, like his predecessor Hugo Chavez, has often faced international criticism for cracking down on independent journalists.

Source: El Impulso

Article originally appeared on Panampost.com