CARACAS – Dozens of journalists accompanied by citizens and several opposition lawmakers marched on Tuesday in Caracas toward the telecommunications regulatory agency on Venezuela’s Day of the Journalist and to push for freedom of expression.
A committee of communicators, headed by the president of the National College of Reporters of Venezuela (CNP), Tinedo Guia, met with representatives of the National Telecommunications Commission (Conatel) to deliver a document in which they ask the commission to “objectively (review) the licenses” of the media and “renew” those that have lapsed, he said.
In Venezuela, media outlets such as Radio Caracas Television (RCTV), Colombia’s channel NTN24 and CNN en Español have left the airwaves after administrative procedures.
Also, print media outlets have been sued or sanctioned and have had problems getting adequate newsprint supplies, the sale of which is controlled by the government.
Guia, who demanded that “the people have true and timely and sufficient information,” said that reporters have been attacked “in 1,000 ways” amid the crisis besetting Venezuela, adding that what the reporters want is to find a way to “do their jobs in democracy.”
“Freedom is democracy, journalism is democracy, if there’s no freedom there are no reporters, if there are no reporters there’s no freedom, and if there are no reporters or freedom there’s no democracy,” he said.
Meanwhile, the head of the SNTP national press workers union, Marco Ruiz, said that the time is “right” to celebrate the Day of the Journalist because, despite the “adversity” facing them, reporters have sought “a new way of continuing to fulfill” their responsibility to inform the public.
The march was backed by the opposition MUD alliance, which for almost the past three months has convened a series of demonstrations against the government of Nicolas Maduro.
Since April 1, Venezuela has been experiencing a wave of pro- and anti-government demonstrations, some of which have degenerated into violence that has left at least 75 people dead and more than 1,000 injured, according to official figures.