17 Feb 2014 22:00
Venezuelan journalists are concerned about the lack of freedom to report in their country. On February 12 , the coverage of a student protest march was minimized in newsrooms by creating an information blackout. Self-censorship is happening in the media, due to pressures from the government of President Nicolas Maduro.
A form of this pressure can be seen by the government's refusal to sell foreign exchange to the media, to import the paper for printing - there is a exchange control in Venezuela and the only provider of currency is the government , unless acquired on the black market at a price 10 times higher than the official price. Eight daily papers in the country have closed their editions, according to the Press and Society Institute , an NGO that advocates freedom of the press, and at least 40 are reducing the circulation.
The papers need to buy dollars to import their paper. The government is the only one who can sell them dollars. Paper for printing is running out fast, and many no longer have stock in their warehouses. Many of the papers are critical of the government.
Before the student protest last week, journalists and media workers marched in Caracas, demanding the government currencies, as now there are increasingly more journalists out of work, because newspapers are closing, and freedom of press is being threatened.