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Media reporting in Venezuela: Are foreign journalists on the take?

By Aleksander Boyd

London 28.08.05 | The reporters covering Venezuelan events for international news outlets are a very dodgy bunch. From former BBC Venezuelan 'expert' Richard Gott, a sycophantic Chavez fan and former KGB informant, to the NYT enfant terrible Juan Forero, we have witnessed how the political affinities of these individuals keep blocking the way to the attainment of objective journalism and reporting. Only this week; The Guardian, The NYT, The Washington Post, the BBC and now Reuters have produced a string of astonishingly biased articles that not only are riddled with inaccuracies, furthermore continue hammering upon the simplistic premise that Chavez is good and his opponents, whomever and wherever these may be, are evil.

There was a march yesterday in Caracas. According to international media opponents and supporters of Hugo Chavez clashed, leaving six injured. Reuters released a picture with the following captioning "A supporter of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez holds his injured head after being hit by a stone during a protest in Caracas, Venezuela August 27, 2005" (sic).

Taking into consideration the description of the wounded given by El Universal, the alleged Chavez supporter may be 24 year old Líder Rondón. The BBC carries yet another picture by AP with a similar captioning: "An unidentified supporter of President Hugo Chavez is covered in blood after being hit by a stone during the clashes in Caracas" (sic).

This begs for a number of questions; how do the Reuters and AP reporters know that the injured man in the picture, unidentified according to AP, is indeed a Chavez supporter? Why would they explicitly say so without backing the claim with evidence? According to Mohammad Merhi, Patricia Poleo and Marta Colmenares -the first two present in the rally- all six injured are opponents of Hugo Chavez.

The Venezuelan media stands accused before the international community of being sloppy. How does the aforementioned leave their international counterparts? What interest moves them to, ever so often, spin the truth?



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