I wrote to Mark Cadiz of the CBC (exchange below) about an article of his that claimed Venezuelan “activists” were turning to social media because the Venezuelan government censors news about the protests. I provided numerous examples that demonstrate how outrageously false it is to claim, as his article did, that Venezuela’s media is “censored”. In fact, if you sample Venezuela’s media directly, it is very easy to see that it is far more open to vehement anti-government content than the media in Canada.
Cadiz responded to me promptly and graciously. He humbly admitted that he was not even familiar with Ultimas Noticias, Venezuela’s largest circulating newspaper. The next day his article was edited to remove an explicit claim that Venezuela’s media is “censored”. However, the articles’ total reliance on Venezuelan ex-pats living in Canada still conveyed that impression very clearly. Overseas voters cast 93.1% of their votes for the opposition candidate who lost in Venezuela’s last Presidential election. It isn’t hard to predict the slant of a news article that relies on Venezuelan ex-pats.
Sadly, I don’t think the Canadian media is free enough to allow any major outlet to inform its audience about the true state of press freedom in Venezuela. I’ll be happy to be proved wrong.
In this article about the protests in Venezuela you wrote
“With the government also censoring media coverage, citizens have
turned to social media to organize and inform the world about the extreme
measures the government has taken.”
Were you aware that Ultimas Noticas, Venezuela’s largest circulating
newspaper, regularly features vehemently anti-government op-eds?
A headline from an op-ed in today’s edition reads
“Solution to the crisis: As we can see we are living at
the margins of the Constitution under a military dictatorship in which a
military–civic clique perpetuates itself by force”
Another op-ed from 3/24/2014 says
“Not One More Death: The deaths have been occurring daily, the most
noteworthy caused by armed groups operating outside the law but with
the apparent consent of the Government”
Another op-ed from 3/24/2014
“Critical Situation: The so called President has decided to establish
himself as a fourth rate dictator “
Another one from 3/20/2014 says
“One can’t keep playing around with Maduro’s assassin government and
its insincere calls for peace”.
This is far from an exhaustive sampling. Ultimas Noticias also features
pro-government opinion and news reports but to claim that fiercely
anti-government voices are shut out of the media is flagrant lie. You
should sample Venezuela’s media directly, especially if you read
Spanish, and see for yourself.
Please read this article by Mark Weisbrot:
It talks about how the New York Times was recently forced into making
two embarrassing corrections because it regurgitated bogus opposition
claims about Venezuelan TV media and about the people who have been killed in
the violent protests. Were you aware of those corrections in the NYT?
Regarding the opposition’s use of Twitter, were you aware that
anti-government opponents have frequently spread images from other
protests in other countries and falsely claimed they were from
Venezuela? Numerous examples in the following article.
Cadiz replied the same day:
Hello Joe Emersberger,
Thanks for your detailed email and your concerns about my opening lead
in the article.
I’ve looked at your links and greatly appreciate you sending them to me.
I was not aware of Ultimas Noticas, but thanks for pointing this
newspaper out. I will have to update/retract the statement about media
I will discuss further with my senior editors to correct this issue.
Thanks for your concern.