Media's Role in Crisis Becomes the Big Story in Venezuela
Posted: Wednesday, April 17, 2002
Networks Defend Coverage After Chavez Says They Backed Ouster
By Scott Wilson
Washington Post Foreign Service
Media owners acknowledged today that they intensely covered Chavez's fall but largely failed to give enough attention to the protests that helped restore him to power two days later. But the gap, they contended, was rooted in fear of hostile crowds and in journalistic judgment, not in partisanship.
"We're going to reflect," said Alberto Federico Ravell, owner of the news channel Globovision. "We are not going to let this stain our reputation."
The media's self-analysis came as a delegation of the Organization of American States began investigating Venezuela's fragile and polarized democracy, which broke down Thursday with Chavez's ouster by the military. But the military's choice of interim government collapsed two days later, returning Chavez to the presidency he won in 1998. Officials today raised the number of people killed in rioting and protests to 68.
Cesar Gaviria, the OAS secretary general, met with media leaders, who have long had a hostile relationship with the president, to hear their account of recent events. Full Article