Journalists intimidated at polls in Venezuela

Caracas, Oct. 22 (EFE) – The National Union of Press Workers of Venezuela (SNTP) denounced on Sunday that “militants of an opposition political party” tried to expel journalists covering the primary elections of the anti-Chávez opposition, and that strangers and officials photographed journalists and voters in several polling stations, intimidating them.

In a message posted on social media, the SNTP said that “in Táchira, while the president of the Regional Primary Committee was giving a balance of the process (…), voters demanded that journalists leave, claiming that it was a civic process and not a media one.”

In another message, the union explained that the people who tried to prevent the coverage were “militants” of a party, without specifying the formation to which they belonged.

“Militants from an opposition political party were the ones who shouted against the work of reporters from several media outlets and encouraged voters to remove the journalists,” the SNTP said, noting that the press remained in place despite the harassment.

The union also warned that anonymous persons had photographed several journalists while they were doing their work at different polling stations in several regions, the most prominent being Bolivar (in the southeast).

According to the information, an unknown person photographed a journalist from a local media while she was collecting testimonies in a school in the city of Puerto Ordaz, Bolivar.

The SNTP added that “the subject left in a car without license plates. Subsequently, a policeman also photographed the reporter”.

Likewise, in the state of Amazonas (in the south), the union denounced that “militants of the ruling party are taking photos and videos” of both voters and journalists covering the primaries.

The union also warned of “intimidation” at a polling station in the municipality of Araure, in the state of Portuguesa (in the west), where representatives of the polling station said that police officers in civilian clothes approached voters waiting for their turn to vote to photograph them.

From 8:00 a.m. local time (12:00 a.m. GMT) to 4:00 p.m. local time (8:00 p.m. GMT), Venezuelans will choose from among 10 candidates who will face the ruling party in the 2024 presidential elections.

The voting day is taking place without the support of the National Electoral Council (CNE) or any other public institution, and is being held in adapted centers such as private homes, squares or parking lots, among others. EFE


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