By DANIELA LONGO
When we try to think in a country without freedom of expression, we normally think of dictatorial countries, such as Cuba and North Korea. However, these countries have been like this for many years.
Nowadays it is almost unimaginable to think that a democratic country will censor freedom of expression, and therefore freedom of the press just because some of the news organizations and journalists don’t share the same ideas as the government.
Unfortunately, Venezuela has been dealing with the censorship of freedom of the expression because of the political problems existing at the present time in the country.
When Hugo Chavez to office, he claimed to be a democratic president. But, during the time he has been in office, he created his own movement called the socialism of the 21st century. At this moment, people who were in favor of a democratic country became to realized that Chavez was leading the country to a dictatorship.
Suddenly the country separated in two sides. “Chavistas” who were in favor of Chavez, and the opposition who are against the government.
Chavez saw the opposition as a threat and he started closing private entities as well as the media that put in evidence the government acts.
Journalists have the important job of reporting information as it really happen, without being subjective or leaning to a preferential side. However, it is okay for a news organization especially in politics to be sympathizer with one political side, as long as they report accurate and truthful information.
In paper, Venezuela claims to be a democratic country, but in practice they are as close as possible to be a dictatorship like Cuba.
In 2007, the Chavez government closed RCTV. For the first time, one of the major national channel was closed for exposing horrible but truthful acts of his government.
After that, he used the channel for governmental matters where he will put programs that will taught the country about his socialism and will brutally attack the opposition.
More channels, radios and newspaper closed for not sharing the same ideas that the government has, and with this more protest in favor of the freedom of expression started to happen, however; it was useless.
Just two months ago, during Maduro’s term, Globovision, which was the last opposition channel standing, was forced to be sold to the government.
The only channel that was still fighting to speak the truth and freely express opinions was taken by the government.
This occasioned the resignation of the entire crew of journalists that were against the selling and the new morals of the channel.
The channel was practically empty, as empty as the country was of journalist that weren’t afraid to speak about the government in broadcast and print.
Thankfully, social media and Internet access isn’t prohibited yet. Now prominent Venezuelan journalist inform through Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and blogs. Also there has been a rise of web programs that can be seen through any device with Internet access.
Nowadays, it is really hard to censor an entire country just by taking away channels, newspaper and radios. Social media has become the voice of a country and its almost unstoppable, even in countries like Venezuela where speaking the truth is a matter of life and death.