The media in this country like to whine about the Trump administration’s treatment of the press. They don’t like that Trump is mean to them and calls them “fake news.” They lost their minds when Trump had CNN’s Jim Acosta’s press credentials taken away from him.
They fail to mention that Trump has never had a single journalist prosecuted or thrown in jail. He has treated the press better than his predecessor, Barack Obama, whose administration spied on reporters.
The next time the media complain about Trump’s treatment of the press, they should read stories from journalists who have actually been mistreated.
A quick Google search would tell them about instances of press harassment in Venezuela.
Journalist Kidnapped in Venezuela
National Review published a story written by a reporter who was kidnapped in Venezuela. The reporter, Annika Hernroth-Rothstein, detailed her experience.
She described her time in the country:
“In the four months I have worked here, I have been chased by the secret police, held at gunpoint by government-supported paramilitaries, robbed of my material and equipment, and deported by direct order of a minister. This is, of course, what totalitarian states do, and partly why I am here in the first place. Journalism is considered a crime in many places on this planet, and honest reporting is seen as a threat to authoritarian leaders who aim to control their people by limiting information and shutting the doors to the outside world.”
She next described being kidnapped and bribed by Venezuelan security officials. Agents brought her into the headquarters of FAES the Venezuelan security forces. She was given four hours to collect $20,000 to pay for the security forces for her freedom. She was unable to collect that much money and was hauled into the FAES headquarters as punishment.
She was returned to her hotel and is guarded around the clock by Venezuela FAES officers.
She explained her situation: “I’m brought back to the hotel by a couple of FAES officers who are outside my room to guard me, because two more culprits are still on the loose. It’s the first time in ages I can sleep, having run from everyone and everything since I got here. It’s a whole new level of absurdity, a new normal that I couldn’t have foreseen just a few weeks ago, but at this point, I have no more energy left to question it.”
She ended her story on a sad note: “My heart is broken, but it still resides here. God help me, but this isn’t over.”
Journalists are harassed far too often in the country. At least 32 Venezuelan and foreign journalists have been arrested and illegally placed in detention since the start of 2019 alone.
In Venezuela, like other socialist countries, the rule of law has broken down. Caracas has become the murder capital of the world, while the paramilitary rounds up and captures political prisoners. Opposition to the government is suppressed. Citizens don’t speak out against the government for fear of being arrested and or killed. The scene in Venezuela is reminiscent of George Orwell’s 1984. Security officials trail reporters. An ABC news correspondent and his production team were arrested for five days for reporting on medical shortages and barbaric conditions in a hospital. The officials intimidated the ABC team by threatening to call in the Venezuelan secret police if they did not pay them a bribe. Scenes like these are played out daily across Venezuela.
Our mainstream media don’t know anything about press repression. They ought to talk to their colleagues in Venezuela who will tell them what true press harassment looks like.