As deadly anti-government protests continue to blight the streets of Venezuela, a news presenter brought activism to his studio by resigning live on air last week.
Presenter Rudy Chavez Perche made his one-man protest against government censorship in a 19-second announcement on Globovision.
“Respected viewers it's 7:02 pm at night. We are again on air with another round of informative Globovision news that will be particularly emotional for me, Rudy Chavez Perche. This will be the last day I will be working on this television for reasons against my will and of differing values.”
Chavez said that new, pro-government ownership of the station meant it had turned away from covering breaking news, and alleged reporters were restricted from saying words including: food shortages, barricades and repression.
When the first fatalities occurred at protests in February, Globovision did not offer any coverage at all, he said.
“We were only allowed to address the situation when the Attorney General gave an official statement on TV, so what we did was to tune into VTV’s [The State-run TV channel’s] signal,” he told ABC-owned news website Fusion.
The channel’s management denies the allegations, and argue that they are making the news more balanced. Globovision director Mayela Leon, said that she was “surprised” by Chavez’s resignation on a CNN en Español Program.
“This is not good practice,” Leon told CNN on Thursday. “We consider that an act like this is an affront to the labor of our journalistic team who is working all day to get our programs on air.”
Chavez maintains he made the right decision, and told Fusion that he quite despite not having an alternative job lined up, but did so because of his convictions.
“I ran out of patience, with the way things were done over there. They were doing lots of things I was taught not to do in journalism school,” he told Fusion.
The government says at least 39 people have been killed and hundreds more injured and arrested since students and mostly middle-class opponents of the Government took to the streets in early February to condemn rampant crime, galloping inflation and record shortages of basic goods.
Additional reporting by AP