The media today: The state of journalism in a country in chaos

As Venezuela tilts toward dictatorship, the conditions on the ground for journalists are deteriorating. Facing international sanctions and continued unrest in the streets, Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro has tightened his grip on power while forces loyal to his party attempt to curtail the independent press. Yesterday, CJR published a pair of stories that depict the issues facing reporters both local and international.

The New York Times’s Nick Casey has been barred from Venezuela since last fall. He spoke with CJR’s Meg Dalton about the Maduro government’s crackdown on journalists, and how he has continued to report from neighboring Colombia. Casey describes official attempts to discredit reporters’ work, and how those efforts have intensified as the country’s economic problems have devolved into a humanitarian crisis. Still, Casey tells CJR, “It’s far worse for Venezuelan journalists.”

One of those local journalists is Elyangélica González, whose 20-year career as a radio reporter in Venezuela came to an end this spring after she was beaten while covering a street protest and then harassed in the days that followed. Diego Senior and Jonathan Schienberg profile her experiences, and the difficult decision she made in leaving her native country. “What’s different now is that all these control methods have been radicalized, regularly changing facts in their favor, and converting victims into aggressors,” González says.

Maduro’s crackdown on the free press adds Venezuela to an ignoble list of countries where journalists face government-sanctioned obstacles to their work. Though the situations in places like Turkey, China, and Syria are unique to each nation, the result is similar. With a newly empowered constituent assembly loyal to Maduro, objective journalism in Venezuela will likely continue its decline.

Below, more on the depressing state of press freedoms in a country already over the brink.


Sign up for CJR's daily email

Other notable stories

Has America ever needed a media watchdog more than now? Help us by joining CJR today.

Pete Vernon is a former CJR staff writer. Follow him on Twitter @ByPeteVernon.