Journalists and the media have not escaped a somber panorama of violence and impunity that has increased in this period and that puts at risk a transcendent electoral process heading for the presidential elections in October. The murder of Karen Berendique, 19, in Maracaibo, daughter of the Honorary Consul of Chile and a student of journalism, is a widely repudiated fact and called “atypical” by authorities, and shows the raw reality of insecurity, confrontation and violence which the country is suffering. To this we must add the climate of impunity. Murders, abductions, shootouts, robberies, thefts, and violence are rarely solved and punished. The report from the Inter American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) of April 19 stated that government responses have been insufficient, faced with the enormous level of criminality that exists. Venezuela was included in the so-called Chapter V of its annual report, on the list of countries where there exist situations that affect “seriously and gravely the enjoyment of fundamental rights.” Harassment of journalists has always existed under this government. Physical assaults, imprisonment, the shutting down of journalism companies, denigration, persecution, even death; these are parts of the range of dissuasive actions that may somehow affect the work of informing. The government uses subtle weapons, but more effective than the laws: distribution of government advertising and restrictions on the economy of the companies. Freedom of the press continues to be seriously threatened. “With the law on Social Responsibility and the reform of the Penal Code, a dynamic process began that led to the closure of RCTV and 34 broadcast stations (32 radio and 2 TV), harassment of stations such as Globovision with a fine greater than two million dollars and judicial persecution of journalists and owners of independent media, sending them into exile, including, among others, Rafael Poleo, his daughter Patricia, and the president of Globovision, Guillermo Zuloaga,” as denounced to the IACHR by the director of Espacio Público, a Venezuelan NGO. The prohibition continues against El Nacional as imposed in August 2010 for publishing photos related to violence. A similar measure was imposed on the newspaper La Prensa de Barinas in December. Another weapon employed against the press is insult and denigration. A critical journalist is treated as an enemy, a traitor, many times labeled as a criminal which, in an atmosphere of so much confrontation, violence, and insecurity, leaves the door open to dangerous attacks. Each year 150 assaults of journalists and media are reported, 1,200 over the past thirteen years. Most vulnerable are street reporters, photographers, and TV cameramen, who are deprived of their equipment, recordings, and video, as happened to a team from Globovision, threatened with firearms by pro-government groups in Chacao. The denunciation is now before the CICPC. On February 7, members of the Bolivarian Militia, who guard the facilities of the Miguel Pérez Carreño hospital in Caracas, held captive for almost four hours journalists from the Cadena Capriles: Abrahán Carfajal and Jesús García, who were even obligated to strip. On February 3, armed men tried to strike reporters from the newspapers Que Pasa, Noti Zulia and Versión Final of Maracaibo who were covering the burial of a young woman who had been murdered. One of the cars that carried them was held back and had its windows broken. Two policemen witnessed the event and did nothing. The government has some 500 radio stations, three newspapers financed with public monies, six television channels, and a network of community media composed of radio, television, and newspapers. The General Prosecutor of the Republic demanded that the media submit technical reports when they refer to the presumed contamination of the water, which establishes a mechanism of prior censorship and a sanction on those who do not meet their requirements for truthful information. The Prosecutor General, Luisa Ortega Díaz, asked judges to demand that published articles be supported by scientific studies or that they be official. The government continues usurping the emails and accounts of literary figures and journalists and, in spite of the respective denunciations, the panorama remains the same. There also continues to be abuse of networks and problems with access to public information. The most relevant events in this period: On October 18, Conatel fined Globovision 9,300,000 bolivares. The administrative process did not include suspension of broadcasts. It was sanctioned due to the editorial treatment by the medium of events that occurred at the El Rodeo Penitentiary Center between June 16 and 19, 2011. Globovision accused the government before international bodies. They also asked for annulation of the sanction as a violation of the Constitution and Venezuelan law. On October 25, representatives of AM and FM stations from all over the country revealed that Conatel is behind in its work with 250 radio stations that have not been able to renew their licenses, a fact that keeps them in silence On November 1, Conatel suspended the broadcast of Radio Cosmopolitan 107.9 FM, located in the city of Valencia, Carabobo state, as well as five other radio stations in Falcón and Zulia, apparently for illegally exploiting the radio electric spectrum. (Enamórate 95.3 and Viajera 101.7 in Coro, state of Falcón and Machiques Stereo 106.7, Romance 104.3 and K’lor 92.1, all in Zulia). In total, during 2011 Conatel closed down twenty-seven FM stations in ten states. On November 7, a journalist with Noti Tarde, Jimmy Bohórquez, was assaulted when he was covering a press conference in a confrontation at the city hall of Morón. He suffered trauma to his thorax from being hit by an unidentified employee. On November 10, the National Assembly passed a communications law, which according to pro-government representatives, attempts to neutralize “incorrect behavior” by private media. On November 27 the Venezuelan opposition revealed that it was a victim of illegal telephone taps that are broadcast by the state TV channel VTV. Despite the denunciation made to competent agencies, there has been no investigation conducted. On December 1, Judge Yosmar González of Court 15 of Caracas dismissed the suit for aggravated slander that was brought by the president of the newspaper El Nacional, Miguel Henrique Otero, against the host of a program on VTV, whom he accused of issuing offensive comments against his mother. On November 2, Conatel took Soberana 92.5 off the air for the illegal offer of telecommunications services. Directors of the station confirmed that they will appeal the order of closure. On December 8, the Administrative Court of Disputes dismissed the intervention of 9 journalists from Globovision who were asking for cancellation of the fine imposed by Conatel. On December 11, the Circle of Graphic Reporters protested through a public communiqué against the physical assaults committed on Andrés Jiménez from the newspaper Meridiano, hit by security agents from the team Magallanes. Reporters Jesús Urea and María Fernanda Soledad received savage blows from workers of Poli Caracas. On January 6, 2012, journalist José Hernández, 75, was abducted and 200,000 bolivares were demanded for his release. On January 21, the Minister of the Interior, Tarek El Aissami, announced a new Penal Code that contemplates surveillance of the communications media. On January 26, the National Assembly started working on a bill to regulate cable television. Pay TV will be regulated this year, according to the pro-government representative Elio Serrano On February 17, Conatel suspended two stations in Zulia and confiscated their equipment. The administrative measure affected the commercial stations Xtrema and Cosmo for the presumed clandestine rendering of service. On February 24 the Supreme Court of Justice annulled a decision by a judge that prohibited the newspaper Mundo Oriental of Anzoátegui from publishing information of a personal nature that attacked the fundamental rights of the governor Tarek William Saab. On March 2, Conatel closed another broadcast station in Maturín and confiscated its equipment. The station Ritmo supposedly was working illegally. On March 5 irregular groups tried to sabotage an event of the opposition candidate Capriles Radonsky. They were armed and they threatened the team from Globovision and obliged them to turn over their camera, microphone, and disks that contained their recordings covering the shootout that had started there and that resulted in the wounding of the son of an opposition representative. On March 6 journalist Nelson Bocaranda in his column “Runrunes” in El Universal, told of a plan to defame him through public media networks, as well as the possibility of an abduction. On March 7, the Supreme Court of Justice ratified the fine of 9.3 million against Globovision. On March 9 text messages were hacked from the program “Aló Cuidadano” directed by Leopoldo Castillo, and inappropriate emails were sent concerning the health of the president. On March 13, a reporting team from Catatumbo Televisión was assaulted by groups that support presidential candidate Henrique Capriles Radonsky while passing through the municipality of Cabimas, Zulia state. Fidel Madroñero, along with his cameraman, were threatened by a group of sympathizers. On March 16, the director of information of Ávila TV, Llafrancis Colina, submitted a complaint to the General Prosecutor’s Office of the Republic for physical assaults suffered by the MUD candidate for governor of Aragua. On March 21, unknown persons shot at the offices of the newspaper Nuevo Día of Coro, state of Falcón. That day the cartoonist of El Universal, Rayma Suprani, decided to take before the courts and the Prosecutor’s Office the host of a nighttime program on Venezolana de Televisión for defamation and exposing him to public ridicule. Also a journalist and correspondent of Venezolana de Televisión, Carolina Zapata, announced that she had been assaulted by followers of the candidate Henrique Capriles Radonsky at an event that she was covering. The act took place in the state of Táchira. On March 30, the governor of the state of Monagas, Luis Enrique Briceño old of the closure of four radio stations and the confiscation of equipment on orders from a general. The stations are: Caicareña, 100.5 FM, Venezuela Olímpica 97.9 FM, Única 104.9 FM and Líder 100.7 FM. This week “Journalists for the Truth” denounced the assaults of a journalist from the private station Televen and of the host of a program on state channel VTV.