Report - Mid-Year Meeting April 17 - 19, 2024

The country continues with an almost total information blackout. Television channels are wholly silenced, except for Radio Caracas Televisión, which was closed and confiscated in the first years of Hugo Chávez's government. Radio stations are also silenced, with the aggravating factor that the regime closes them throughout the country month after month.

There is no independent print journalism. The government bought some prominent newspapers, and those that existed independently had to migrate to the Internet, where they suffered permanent digital blocks.

Journalists suffer intimidation, persecution, and arbitrary arrests, even community journalism that uses social networks for its work. The official digital blockade is almost total: 48 media outlets and 78 news domains, including international media outlets, remain blocked. Website blocks are ordered by CONATEL, with total discretion, opacity, and no legal basis.
DNS, HTTP/HTTPS, and TCP/IP type blocks were identified. ISPs or private service providers use DNS blocking, but only CANTV uses HTTP/HTTPS and DNS blocking.

The government also blocks access to tools used to evade censorship, and blockages occur naturally through massive power blackouts across the country.

The country is entering the presidential electoral process. Still, it is not expected to be competitive and transparent but somewhat fraudulent, as the US, the European Union, and even Maduro's allies, such as the presidents of Brazil and Colombia, have pointed out.

Espacio Público documented 17 cases and 32 violations of freedom of expression against journalists, media personnel, and citizens in general, the majority coming from officials and security forces. IPYS Venezuela registered 233 cases of attacks against journalists in 2023 and 99 against media outlets.

Other prominent attacks in this period:

In November, the United Nations Human Rights Committee expressed concern about the closure of media outlets. It also denounced intimidation, persecution, and arbitrary arrests against journalists. In addition, it provided details about theft, confiscation, and destruction of professional equipment and interference and denial of entry into the country of foreign correspondents.

On November 23, the Oriente 24 News portal in Sucre suffered a computer attack, during which part of the platform's support was deleted. It was attributed to a "political attack" after a report about the heritage tree area of Cumaná and the deforestation of trees in the city was published.

On November 24, the analysis and information website La Gran Aldea suffered a denial of service attack.

The digital media portal El Carabobeño was blocked since November 8 by the state operator CANTV and the private companies Digitel, NetUno, Inter, and Movistar. The medium has been digital since 2016 because they do not allow you to buy paper.

CONATEL took the Class 98.7 station off the air, the first FM in the Cojedes State, with 30 uninterrupted years of operation. It executed the closure on November 10 through resolution GST-RS-00780, in which the body declared the termination of the concession.

On December 3, Plan República officials prevented journalists from Globovisión, Televen, VTV, Venevisión, Qué Pasa en Venezuela, Unión Radio, Notitarde, and Mango Noticias from accessing the Escuela Ligia Cadenas Alvarado voting center, in Tinaquillo, Cojedes, from providing coverage during the Consultative Referendum.

An employee of Plan República ordered journalist David Marcano from El Periodiquito to delete the photos he took during the coverage of the Consultative Referendum in Maracay, Aragua.

Police officials and a FANB lieutenant prevented journalist Ricardo Tarazona from the portal Que Pasa En Venezuela from making videos outside the voting center in San Felipe, Yaracuy.

Plan República troops expelled journalists from a voting center in Caracas where political opponent Henrique Capriles was.

On December 6, the Public Ministry announced arrest warrants against journalist Claudia Macero, communications coordinator for Vente Venezuela, among other leaders of this and other opposition political organizations. According to Tarek William Saab, the investigation is for the alleged crimes of "treason, conspiracy with a foreign power, money laundering, and association to commit a crime."

On January 10, the radio stations Órbita 99.7 FM, from Guanare, and Galactica 100.7 FM, from the Sucre Biscucui municipality in Portuguesa, went off the air following an order from CONATEL. The notification came to them by text message. They were urged to turn off their transmitters because their concessions had not been renewed.

Journalist Hernán González, from the newspaper El Siglo, reported on January 15 that he was the victim of verbal aggression and intimidation during coverage of the protest events for Teacher's Day in Maracay, Aragua.

On January 19, security personnel from the "Gas Yaracuy" filling company in Yaracuy forced two journalists from national media to eliminate the support shots they had captured at the site after covering statements by the plant's director.

On January 22, the Public Ministry announced that an arrest warrant was issued against Venezuelan journalist Sebastiana Barráez for investigations of alleged terrorist acts "up to an attempt on the life of President Nicolás Maduro." Barráez would be investigated along with Tamara Sujú, Wender Villalobos, Norbey Marin, Mario Carratú, and José Colina for treason, intentional homicide classified as attempted in the person of the president and the governor of Táchira, terrorism, and association.

On January 23, the headquarters of the National College of Journalists, Tachira section, dawned scratched. On its walls, you could read "Bolivarian Fury."

That day, Radio Hispana 89.5 FM facilities in San Felipe, Yaracuy, were vandalized by the action of unknown groups who scratched its walls with the phrase "Bolivarian Fury 2024." The same thing happened in businesses and opposition parties.

On January 27, the media Palpitar Trujillano announced that they evacuated the headquarters from which their workers operated in Valera, Trujillo State, due to pressure and threats received in recent months.
On February 2, the Onda 100.9 FM station in Valencia, Carabobo State, went off the air following an order from CONATEL officials. Onda had already received several inspection visits from CONATEL in 2023.
Onda, along with La Mega and the now closed Unión Radio Noticias y Éxitos, was part of the Unión Radio Circuit in the entity.

Officials from the Mayor's Office of Cumaná, Sucre State, threatened and broadcast an intimidating video against journalist Hilianni Vásquez, director of the regional news portal Prensa Alternativa, regarding her coverage of a pro-government march.

On February 15, there was an attempted riot at the CICPC in Porlamar, Nueva Esparta State. Officials prevented journalists from reporting from Canal I, Impacto Venezuela, NTA, QPEV, Sol de Margarita, and Atarraya. Family members also avoided testifying for fear of reprisals.

On February 23, three radio stations were closed in Ciudad Ojeda, Zulia State: Senda 96.1 FM, Mágica 93.3 FM, and Clásicos 93.9 FM. A #Conatel commission visiting the State ordered them to turn off the transmitters after a "technical administrative review."

On February 27, the Ecos del Páramo 100.3 FM station was closed in Tuñame, in Trujillo. The State Armed Police Force and Government personnel showed up at the radio headquarters and stole transmitters, computers, and microphones.

On March 4, Regional Television, in Portuguese, took the informative and opinion program Primera Plana off the air after 48 years. The journalist indicated that they informed him that they would not be able to continue broadcasting the program because "the situation is delicate."

The signal from the television station of the DW Español media outlet came out of the Simple TV grid. He stopped being on channel 770 after the Minister of Communication, Freddy Ñáñez, accused him of "spreading hatred."

Nicolás Maduro also disqualified the German channel on February 4, pointing out that it had a campaign against the country. He called it a "Nazi" and complained about its editorial line, along with that of other international media.

DW Español published an article about Venezuela in which, citing sources, it names the country the second most corrupt in the world.

It is the second time this medium's signal has been removed from the cable companies by government instructions. In April 2019, he was off the air in retaliation for his coverage of the social, political, and economic crisis.

Since 2010, at least 14 international channels have been pulled from
subscription television providers.

The VE sin Filtro portal has documented blocking at least 48 media outlets and 78 news domains in the country.

On March 6, CANTV, Movistar, Digitel, NetUno, and Inter confirmed they blocked the Impacto Venezuela website online.

In March, two digital media outlets were blocked by the leading internet operators in Venezuela.

CONATEL and the National Guard closed the station Bendión Estéreo 93.9 FM in Upata, Bolívar, and confiscated the equipment.