The ongoing war on journalists, cont.


Italian photographer Francesca Commissari, holding the only part of her camera returned by the authorities.

On the night of February 28th, the National Guard detained 41 people in Altamira Square (eastern Caracas) during one of their recent repressive raids. According to state media outlets like Telesur, eight alleged foreign nationals were arrested as “terrorist vandalists”.

A day and half later, all those detained were released by a court of law.

What about those eight foreign terrorists, you might ask? Apparently, there were only two foreign nationals, who weren’t vandals at all. (Still waiting for that correction, SIBCI…)

One of them was Italian photographer Francesca Commissari, who has been in Venezuela since 2008, and who is currently working with newspaper El Nacional.

At first Commissari was even in danger of being deported, but the court eventually freed her without charges. However, her camera equipment (except the lens cover seen on the picture) is missing and she’s asking whomever took it to please give it back. In the meantime, she has offered her side of the story in this extended video interview, made by her colleague Alejandro Hernández.

But as CC has reported before, the case of Commissari isn’t isolated: both domestic journalists and international correspondents are becoming frequent targets of official repression. The latest case occurred yesterday in Táriba (Tachira State), during the violent actions by both irregular motorcycle gangs and the National Guard. The crew of Spanish public broadcaster TVE was robbed of their equipment by such groups, who also tried to rob the camera of New York Times’ photographer Meredith Kohut. 

As some were forced to leave the country due to threats while others have faced tough times with the authorities, this offensive against international correspondents feels more and more like another attempt to silence the media. This view is also shared by the head of the Venezuelan Press Workers’ Union (SNTP), Marco Ruiz.

But Information Minister Delcy Rodriguez won’t bother with this. She’s too busy bashing that Jared Leto guy. Perhaps she needs some help. Can anybody give her Steven Seagal’s phone number? He could be useful.

18 thoughts on “The ongoing war on journalists, cont.

  1. I think precisely this war on international reporters is going to be their undoing. Nothing sells repression to an international audience like foreign correspondents being harassed.

    This harassment further motivates them, and you end up with Fernando del Rincón in Caracas.


  2. Apparently, some protesters today assaulted a group of photographers in Altamira. That is profoundly stupid on their part.


    • more tweets confirming, this is the last one:
      Alicia Hernández ‏@por_puesto · 57m
      Al fotógrafo @FortuneCris le golpearon en la cabeza con un tubo de metal. Llevaba un casco. No fueron “colectivos”. Fueron manifestantes.


      • and this one:
        Eugenio G. Martínez ‏@puzkas · 52m
        RT @andreina: unos manifestantes le dieron con un tubo en la cabeza al fotógrafo (con casco), él asegura q otros lo defendieron


          • yes,let those “independent” photographers do their job so they can sell those pictures to the government media for those very racist articles like the one in LaIguanaTV,and to keep feeding the cheap ass propaganda machine that is so effective for the people who don’t have internet or cable tv.

            I’m sorry but this is how i think.


            • Would you rather they sell them pictures of actual demonstrators beating them up, and then being rescued by the GNB?
              The last thing we need is to lose the non-violent tag.


        • Werner Corrales Leal ‏@wernercorrales · 3h
          Una de dos, o son TARADOS o son INFILTRADOS del gobierno los manifestantes que agredieron al fotógrafo Cristian Hernández en Altamira


      • unedited videocam clips are surfacing… turns out that
        “no es fotografo…. es un carajo que graba las vainas con una camarita para luego mostrársela a sus superiores!!! esta mas claro que el agua que los reporteros que andan en las calles ninguno anda con cámaras sencillas todas son profesionales y se les ve no una sino hasta dos y tres cámaras encima de ellos…”

        Take note, photo-journo wannabe Tamara Pearson.


    • She published a list of opossition figures traveling to other countries in december, claiming that doing so was “high treason”.
      Those chavistas in the cabinet never grow past the “school bully” brain age.


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