Report to the Midyear Meeting 2023
April, 25-27

The media spectrum continues to be systematically reduced under the Chavista dictatorship. There are no independent newspapers, no magazines with political content, television and radio are silenced, and web news platforms are blocked. The state channel is a propaganda television station.

Physical aggression against journalists is routine—the closure and constant confiscation of radio stations. Since October, 80 radio stations have undergone closure and seizure. Between 2003 and 2022, 285 radio stations were arbitrarily closed; in most cases, their frequencies were reassigned to people close to the regime.

The communications regulator continues to order phone companies to block news sites. There are already 60 sites affected, both national and foreign.

The Nicolás Maduro regime continues to sharpen its repressive methods against the media that publish investigative papers on internal fractures. Such is the case of the attacks against El Nacional staff residing in the country. Also, relatives of the journalists from El Nacional who work abroad received threats after the newspaper published investigations on the Morón brothers, front men for "Nicolasito," the president's son.

Other relevant cases against press freedom in this period:

On April 2, journalist and environmental activist Gustavo Carrasquel suffered a smear campaign by Chotoni, Aragua State residents, who declared him persona non grata.

On March 27, Conatel ordered the closure of Biscucuy Stereo 88.7, a community radio station from the Portuguese State. Since 2021, Conatel has closed more than five regional radio stations, including Astro 89.7 FM in Ospino; Kalor 101.9FM in Acarigua; Genial 89.8 FM in Guanare, and Sonora 107.7, in Araure, in the Portuguesa State.

On March 24, Conatel ordered the closure of the community radio station Radio Chabasquen 105.7 FM, in the Unda Municipality, in Portuguesa.

On March 14, the program "Un cafecito con Lira," hosted by journalist Raúl Lira, was suspended on the Única 101.1 FM radio station in Bermúdez, Sucre State.

On March 7, six journalists and two photojournalists from various media outlets in Bolívar State were attacked by a group of citizens sympathetic to the mayor of Caroní, Tito Oviedo, when they were covering a citizen assembly. They pushed and threatened Stephane Hernández, Alvis Herrera, and Wuilmer Barrero of Nueva Prensa; Laura Clisánchez of Correo del Caroní, and journalist Pableysa Ostos.

On January 25, journalist José Gregorio Meza, from El Nacional, was visited at his home in Caracas by a prosecutor from the Public Ministry and a commission from the CICPC who took him to an unidentified place to testify about journalistic work. During the procedure, his cell phone was confiscated.

On November 11, a guard at the PSUV headquarters in Carora, Lara State, prevented journalist Yanitza Martínez, from La Patilla and photojournalist Edson Meléndez, from covering a protest by militants demanding the delivery of credentials.

On November 10, the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention of the UN Human Rights Council, in its opinion 48/2022, declared arbitrary the detention of journalist and activist Roland Carreño. The Group warned that imprisonment is a systematic practice in the country.

On November 3, an unidentified subject recorded and photographed journalist Ana Carolina Aria of Reporte Confidencial and VPITV, when she was covering a protest by fishermen for fuel in Maneiro, Nueva Esparta. When asked why he was taking pictures of the journalist with her phone, the man replied: "Just in case."

In Cabinas, Conatel ordered the closure of the stations Activa 88.3 FM, Fiesta 101.1 FM, Buenísima 106.3 FM, and Sabrosa 102.3 FM. In Ciudad Ojeda, he ordered the closure of Citojense Stereo 94.3 FM.

On October 19, Conatel ordered the closure of the Sur del Lago Stereo 91.9 radio station in Zulia.

In October, Mario Silva, known for using state media to attack critical journalists and leaders, harassed the Monitoreamos portal on social media. As a result, he prompted the Public Ministry to launch an investigation against the website.

By order of Conatel, the Christian-style stations Renuevo 89.5 FM, Celestial 96.9 FM, Jerusalem Stereo 98.5 FM, and Gilgal Estereo 102.7 FM, all from Cabimas, in Zulia, were closed.