Safety of Journalists > AFP news > Media covering Venezuela unrest subject to arrests, attacks: union

Media covering Venezuela unrest subject to arrests, attacks: union

© 2014 AFP

12 March 2014

Nearly 100 journalists have suffered arbitrary arrests, robberies or physical attacks and harassment covering protests in Venezuela, the national press workers union SNTP said Wednesday.

"Most of the aggressions carried out against press workers over the past month were by state officials," the union said in a report.

But at least 15 cases were attributed to "armed civilians," most of whom are believed to be members of pro-government groups known as "colectivos," it added.

The union reported that 97 journalists in all, including 28 working for foreign news outlets, were affected.

Some reported being subjected to arbitrary arrests while others said they had their equipment stolen or were physically assaulted, according to the union. Some reported a combination of all three.

The union's list includes journalists from CNN, Telemundo, Television Espanola, TV Globo, The New York Times, Reuters, the Associated Press and Agence France-Presse.

Anti-government protests, at times violent, have simmered across Venezuela since February 4, leaving at least 21 dead.

They have been fueled by public discontent with rampant crime, high inflation and shortages of basic goods, but crackdowns on protests by Venezuelan security forces have also stoked tension.