Caracas, March 9th (EFE). – Venezuelan Communications Minister Freddy Náñez confirmed this Tuesday that the economic sanctions imposed by the United States against the government of Nicolas Maduro caused a shortage of newspapers in his country, a situation that caused a shortage of newspapers. Several newspapers halted circulation.
“Someone can say that this is an excuse, and that we resort to economic sanctions just to avoid responsibility,” said Nanez, during an interrogation in the Chavezmo-controlled parliament.
The minister emphasized that newsprint is only purchased when the state has “the possibility to practice free trade” and insisted that the sanctions – in place since 2017 – affect all sectors of the country, including the press.
In this sense, he called on the Venezuelan Newspaper Chamber to utter and acknowledge that economic sanctions have prevented the circulation of the paper press, he said.
He added, “In 2018, we did our best to import 2,800 tons of paper, which is 90% less than what we are entitled to buy as a free country and as a sovereign country.”
Specifically, in December of that year, one of the largest and most important newspapers in the country stopped circulation at the time, the newspaper Nacional, which, at the time, denounced the scene of suffocation by the Chavez administration.
The newspaper Nacional, which is critical of the government, is currently maintained as a news portal on the Internet.
According to the Venezuelan Institute of Press and Society (IPYS), about 70 newspapers have been in circulation in the country since 2013, the year Maduro began ruling.
The Venezuelan Press Federation and the Syndicate of Journalists assert that the government applies policies that “penalize” critical media outlets or that maintain independent lines.
However, Náñez denied that the executive took action against media that “opposed” his policies.
He said, “We do not have any negative reaction against editorial lines that oppose the government’s policies or that oppose the government or that have gone so far as to call the invasion.”
In addition, he advocated that the radio electrical circuit is dominated by radio stations and private operators.
On the same day, the NGO Espacio Público denounced 38 violations of freedom of expression in Venezuela in 19 different cases in February.
Public sector workers (28%), journalists (24%) and the media (20%) were the most common victims, while the perpetrators were mostly state institutions, security forces and officials, according to the public space. EFE
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