Organizations working for press freedom in Venezuela denounce that journalists are being prevented from carrying out their work in covering the country’s local and regional elections, which are being held this Sunday (21).
In a series of publications on Twitter, the NGO Venezuelan Press and Society Institute (Ipys, for its Spanish acronym) and the National Union of Press Workers of Venezuela (SNTP) reported situations such as intimidation, denial of credentials, prohibition of access to places of voting, photo retention and arrests.
The SNTP reported that the Bolivarian National Guard (GNB) detained journalist Orlando Montlouis, from the El Tequeño and El Liberal Post portals, for 40 minutes for taking photos of the facade of an electoral center in the city of Los Teques. According to the union, guards took him to a school and forced him to erase the material.
Among other cases reported in its profile, the SNTP reported that journalist Lorena Bornacelly, from TV El Pitazo, reported that election observers from the PSUV ruling party in Táchira took photos of reporters covering the vote of San Cristóbal mayor, Gustavo Delgado, with the purpose of intimidating them.
In addition to reporting harassment of journalists on Sunday, Ipys had reported the day before that at least 16 news portals are still being blocked in Venezuela by the state telecommunications company Cantv and the Digitel company. According to the NGO, the restrictions against these portals were applied with HTTP blocking in the case of Cantv, while Digitel exercises DNS blocking.
“With censorship imposed on traditional media and many areas of the country considered deserted for news, digital media are one of the main options for citizens to stay informed, but operators are determined to block them”, lamented the NGO.
In Sunday’s elections, 23 governors, 335 mayors, 253 legislators from legislative councils and 2,471 councilors will be elected in Venezuela.
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