In Venezuela, the revolution will not be televised — by Colombia's NTN24.
Protests against President Nicolas Maduro's government have been roiling the country this week, leading to violent confrontations that have killed four people.
Meanwhile, dueling broadcasts inside and outside Venezuela are portraying vastly different situations: Inside Venezuela, TV sets portray massive support for the government; outside, the country's young people look angry at the state and appear to be clashing violently with its supporters.
Venezuelan authorities have pulled the plug on Colombia’s 24-hour cable news network after it aired coverage of anti-government protests happening across the border.
Venezuela's telecommunications regulator, CONATEL, ordered cable providers to drop NTN24 last week. That rule will remain in effect as long as the network continues what the government considers "its efforts to actively support destabilization" of Venezuela, CONATEL Director William Castillo said Tuesday.
NTN24 CEO Claudia Gurisatti called it “censorship of free press, an affront to citizens’ right to be informed and an attack on freedom of expression," El Universal reported.
She pledged to bring the matter to “all the organizations that advocate freedom of expression and human rights.”
The Committee to Protect Journalists said the Venezuelan government is dangerously close to turning the country into an autocratic state.
NTN24 online coverage was also temporarily interrupted by an apparent hack, CPJ reported.
“President Nicolas Maduro’s government is not content to repress the few remaining independent voices in Venezuela, but is now going after foreign outlets that provide critical coverage of his administration as well,” CPJ Americas head Carlos Lauria said.
“Venezuelan authorities should immediately restore NTN24’s signal in Venezuela, stop censoring news sources that counter the official narrative, and ensure that Venezuelans can get vital information about what is happening in their country.”
CONATEL’s response said journalists covering protests must remember Venezuela’s Radio and Television Social Responsibility Law that bans reports that “incite or promote hatred.”
That might be why the government-sponsored Telesurtv largely ignored widespread street protests.
Here's what television has looked like inside Venezuela.
TV broadcasts sympathetic to Maduro have been reporting on huge parades of red-clad supporters of the president. News anchors use the president's preferred terms like "fascist" and "ultra-right-wing" to describe the rival, anti-government protesters.
"Venezuelan people reiterate their support for the government" reads the chyron at the bottom of TV sets showing Telesur, as seen in the above screengrab of the network's online livesream of President Maduro starting a speech Tuesday afternoon.
Stations like NTN24 also ran livestreams telling a different story.
Here's its live feed via YouTube:
h/t: Erik de la Reguera
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