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Listening Post

Venezuela's media wrangle

The government and the opposition are fighting it out to make sure it is their version of events that gets reported.

Last updated: 23 Feb 2014 16:05
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In the past days, Venezuela has seen street protests over an ailing economy that have led to the deaths of at least six people. Both the government and the opposition are telling different stories and fighting it out in the media to make sure that it is their version of events that gets reported.

For the government, this saga goes back to 2002, when the private media hailed a short-lived coup against the government of the late President Hugo Chavez. Chavez’s successor, Nicolas Maduro, has de-fanged the ‘bourgeois’ media - to the point that Venezuelans could only see coverage of the current unrest on a private channel broadcasting from Colombia.

And although the government forced that channel off the Venezuelan airwaves, the fight has migrated online. Opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez has more Twitter followers than the president, but activists have been accused of uploading false information and misleading content.

Viewing Venezuela from both sides of the News Divide, we hear from MP Julio Chavez, representing the Parliamentary Media Commission. Offering the opposite view is Cecilia Colmenares, the former head of news at Globovision. Added perspectives come from author Oscar Guardiola Rivera, and Carlos Lauria, the Americas programme coordinator for the Committee to Protect Journalists.

From an unbridgeable divide in South America, this week's feature looks at a relationship that could be too close for comfort in the north. With online giant Amazon securing cloud computing contracts, worth a reported $600m, from the CIA, there are those who have viewed the purchase of the Washington Post by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos with alarm.

How might a newspaper that once brought down a president now report on government activities that are hugely profitable for its new owner? The Listening Post’s Flo Phillips examines the issues.

Also in the media news this week: Another individual connected with the Snowden leaks - this time his lawyer - says she was detained and questioned by security staff at London’s Heathrow airport; Turkish journalists are protesting against what they say is censorship and government pressure; and a Libyan TV station is hit with guns and rockets - apparently as a result of its critical reports.

Finally, our Web Video of the Week comes from Russian photographers Vadim Makhorov and Vitaliy Raskalov who were as dismissive of the authorities as they were of a potential 650m drop. The duo has just climbed China’s tallest building - the Shanghai Tower - filming, photographing and blogging all the way up. They completed the ascent without harnesses or safety straps and we are sure many of you watching this will be gripping your armrests as tightly as they held each rung of the ladder on their way to the top.

Listening Post can be seen each week at the following times GMT: Saturday: 0830, 1930; Sunday: 1430; Monday: 0430.

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Source:
Al Jazeera
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