Venezuela: Activists, academics demand fair media coverage

Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro greets supporters at a campaign rally in San Felipe on May 9, 2018.

An international group of intellectuals and activists are demanding media corporations report on the May 20 Venezuelan elections in a more balanced and honest way, instead of reproducing the single narrative that is being spread by most media outlets.

“We oppose the media narrative that seeks to conceal and stigmatise the diversity of opinions. We refuse to be victims of a media disinformation operation, the objective of which is to create – in international public opinion – the conditions to justify anti-democratic actions against Venezuela,” reads an online petition on the MediuM web platform.

In the petition, called “Venezuela: I do not want to be a victim of media disinformation,” a group of people including Argentine Nobel Peace Prize Adolfo Perez Esquivel, Spanish writer and journalist Ignacio Ramonet, Colombian lawyer and former senator Piedad Cordoba, Landless Workers' Movement coordinator Joao Pedro Stedile, and economists Mark Weisbrot and Jacques Sapir, express their concerns regarding media misinformation about the Venezuelan elections’

They demand “balanced information that allows us to understand the complexity of the situation in Venezuela.”

“In this tense political context, we – citizens of the world, targeted by the great international media corporations – claim our right to be informed in a plural, balanced and honest way about the upcoming events in Venezuela,” the petition reads.

“We refuse to be victims of a media disinformation operation whose objective is to create the necessary conditions in international public opinion to justify anti-democratic actions against Venezuela.”

Venezuelans will take part in the May 20 electoral process to elect a new president and representatives to local and state legislative councils.

The petition explains that more than 2000 international observers, including from organisations such as the African Union, the Caribbean Community and the Electoral Experts Council of Latin America, will oversee the election despite media claims that the process is a fraud.

“This democratic vote, however, is already being boycotted by the political and media arms of powerful groups nationally and internationally, denouncing the results before they have even been announced,” says the petition.

Despite opposition candidates having said they trust the Venezuelan electoral system, other sections of the opposition claim the process is a fraud and have called for abstaining from voting. Others have even called for a military intervention instead of elections.

[Reprinted from TeleSUR English.]