Media Freedom Coalition statement on Venezuela

The undersigned members of the Media Freedom Coalition express their deepconcern over the lack of media freedom in Venezuela. Of particular concern are therepressive measures employed by the Maduro regime, including the harassment andpersecution of journalists, media workers and independent media outlets,
censorship, Internet shutdowns, property seizures and the general silencing ofcritics. This comes in addition to the considerable difficulties and restrictions thatare faced by non-governmental organizations working on analysis and reporting ofissues within Venezuela.

In recent years, the Maduro regime has restricted media freedom by harassing andpersecuting dissenting voices, particularly those of journalists and media workers.
Independent journalists in Venezuela operate within a highly restrictive regulatory andlegal environment, and risk arrest and physical violence. These difficulties also extend tonon-governmental organizations working on analysis and reporting of current eventswithin Venezuela. To avoid persecution or undesired consequences, including arbitrarydetentions, many journalists and news media resort to self-censorship.

The Maduro regime has also orchestrated the acquisition of media trusts to securefriendly editorial perspectives and propagate state-sponsored policies, messages andideology. State-owned media outlets provide almost exclusively favourable coverage tothe regime, to the detriment of any dissenting voices. Media outlets that criticize orchallenge the Maduro regime risk facing legal consequences, including the cancellation oftheir licences and the seizure of equipment or property. As a result, Venezuela has lost itsonce-vibrant newspaper sector and the Maduro regime controls the domestic narrative.

Restrictive measures are evident in the digital space in Venezuela, where the Maduroregime uses targeted content blocking against critics. The blocking or filtering of servicesaffects the free flow of information as well as freedom of expression, further erodingmedia freedom and civic space. This is of particular concern, given that means of digitalinformation and communications have never been more important and that mostindependent news outlets in Venezuela can now only operate online. The regime alsoallocates significant resources to disseminate its own messaging and drown out voicesthat challenge its narrative.

The right to freedom of expression as exercised by journalists is fundamental to theprotection and promotion of democracy, all human rights and the rule of law. Free,
independent and pluralistic media both online and offline is crucial for a democraticsociety to make informed decisions, hold authorities, institutions and individualsaccountable and hear a diversity of opinions. Being able to work in safety allows

journalists to fulfill their crucial role of being a source of objective and unbiasedinformation.

We commend the courage of all journalists and media workers in Venezuela who, bothonline and offline, report on attacks to democratic institutions and on human rightsviolations and abuses, as well as on corruption in Venezuela. Journalists need a safeenvironment in which to do their work.


the Czech Republic
the Netherlands
New Zealand
the United Kingdom
the United States

Most recent Statements