Twitter has confirmed that the Venezuelan government has been blocking images of protests and demonstrations that began earlier this month in provincial towns. Venezuelans have had to rely on information from foregin reporters and social media in order to get around the state-controlled media.
Nu Wexler, spokesperson for Twitter, confirmed via an email that it was indeed the government behind the blocking of the images, following a ban on all protests.
However the protestors have vowed to continue their demonstrations against record shortages and the world’s fastest inflation. “We won’t cease protests until all our comrades are free,” Gaby Arellano, a leader of the Andes University student union and member of opposition party Voluntad Popular told Bloomberg. “We will continue fighting for our democratic rights.”
Cantv, a state-run phone company, has denied that Twitter images have been blocked, claiming that Twitter’s servers are not located in Venezuela and that other countries have been subject to these problems too.
President Nicolas Maduro took Columbian station NTN24 off the air following the protests and also critised international news outlets of bias, accusing Agence France Presse of “manipulating information”.
“We are having a media blackout,” Josefina Blanco, a freelance science journalist and social media user, said in an e-mail from Caracas. Only because of Twitter, NTN24 and radio station RCR 750 “ can we know what is really going on in our streets,” she said.
The protests are still on-going, with another march expected to take place today by not only the opposition, but also by Maduro supporters.
[Image via Elpais]