The Listening Post

Venezuela’s crisis and the geopolitics of news narratives

Opposition figure Juan Guaido proclaims himself ‘President’ in Venezuela. Plus, Serbian media under Vucic.

On The Listening Post this week: As the speaker of Venezuela’s National Assembly proclaims himself “President”, we analyse international coverage of the crisis. Plus, Serbian media under Vucic.

Venezuela’s crisis and the geopolitics of news narratives

When opposition figure Juan Guaido declared himself interim president in Venezuela last week, he was quickly backed by the United States and many other governments. The US media covered the push to remove President Nicolas Maduro, without saying whether that attempt, if successful, would amount to a coup.

The coverage also mostly stayed away from the role successive American administrations – through economic sanctions – have played in handicapping the Venezuelan economy. As Iraqis, Iranians, Libyans and others would tell you, this isn’t the first time the US has taken a disproportionate interest in the governance of a country loaded with oil. Washington has a playbook for this kind of thing. And so, apparently, do the US media.


Alan McLeod – Author, ‘Bad News from Venezuela’
Jairo Lugo-Ocando – Professor, Northwestern University in Qatar
Oscar Guardiola-Rivera – Lecturer, University of London
Abby Martin – Host, ‘The Empire Files’
Rory Carroll – Former Latin America correspondent, The Guardian & Author, ‘Comandante: Hugo Chavez’s Venezuela’

On our radar

Richard Gizbert speaks to producer Flo Phillips about Sudan’s crackdown on the media following weeks of anti-government protests, and the UK’s Daily Telegraph story on Melania Trump that contained not one, but a heap of factual inaccuracies.

Protesting Serbia’s muzzled media

Thousands of protesters marched in Belgrade this past weekend, the ninth straight week of mass anti-government demonstrations. But news outlets that either back or fear President Aleksandar Vucic, and that’s the majority of the Serbian media, have either ignored the movement or minimised its news value. For protesters, this doesn’t come as a surprise. They have been calling for an end to what they say are Vucic’s authoritarian tendencies and his creeping control of the media.

The Listening Post‘s Johanna Hoes reports from Belgrade on the state of journalism in the Vucic era.

Aleksandar Gajovic – State Secretary, Ministry of Culture and Information
Zeljko Bodrozic – Vice President, Independent Journalists’ Association of Serbia
Filip Svarm – Executive Editor, Vreme
Tanja Maksic – Balkan Investigative Reporting Network (BIRN)