Venezuela newspaper ends print edition amid censorship concerns

Venezuelan newspaper El Nacional stopped its print edition Friday, which its director blamed on Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro's censorship actions. Photo by David Fernandez/EPA-EFE

Dec. 15 (UPI) — Iconic Venezuelan newspaper El Nacional, which has struggled to remain independent in the face of political pressures that forced its director into exile, issued its last print edition Friday after 75 years.

“The daily will stop circulation temporarily because we run out of paper (but) El Nacional continues in the fight,” said Miguel Henrique Otero, president editor of El Nacional.

Starting Saturday, only a web edition will be available.

“This decision is a consequence of years of harassment by the government. It tried to close us, and has put pressure on us. We went to courts and we now have people out of the country, like members of our editorial council,” Henrique Otero added.

“What overwhelmed El Nacional was not having access now to paper for the news press.”

The paper’s elimination comes at a time some say the Venezuelan government has become too involved in journalistic operations.

“A mass media connected to our democratic history forced by the dictatorship to stop its print circulation,” opposition leader Andres Velasquez tweeted Thursday ahead of the final edition.

“The government has nearly reached its objective of communication hegemony. It censored radio and television and has nearly eliminated written press,” said Henrique Otero, who added that he hopes to return to print editions one day.

Venezuela is going through economic and political crises that’s forced millions to migrate to escape political violence. A mass influx of refugees has also caused a crisis in nearby countries.

The United Nations Refugee Agency launched an emergency plan Friday to help Venezuelan migrants.

“Venezuelans I met during my visits spoke of hunger, lack of access to medical care, insecurity, threats, fear. They are families, women alone, children, young boys and girls, all in conditions of extreme vulnerability. All of them saw no other option than to leave their country,” said Eduardo Stein, special representative of the organization for Venezuelan refugees and migrants.


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