[Ed. – Bet Nicolas Maduro has a pen and a phone too.]
On January 21, El Expreso, a regional daily in the southeastern state of Bolivar shut down its printing press for lack of paper, bringing the number of newspapers that have disappeared from Venezuelan newsstands in the past four months to 10.
The scarcity of paper for printing newspapers and magazines is part of Venezuela’s larger struggle to purchase key imports, but advocates of a robust and free press say the new problem has its own unique and worrying repercussions.
“It has become a real danger to the free flow of information, and is therefore affecting citizens’ ability to form opinions and make decisions,” Marianela Balbi, president of the Institute for Press and Society (IPYS), a Caracas-based independent media watchdog group, told FRANCE 24.
The lack of paper, but also ink and other products needed for the printing process, was first noticed in September. While the problem was at first limited to small regional dailies, it is now hurting some with national distribution.