CARACAS : Venezuela saw almost 70 newspapers, television and radio stations close this year while attacks on journalists rose, the main union representing the media said on Wednesday-

Accusing the socialist government of trying to ''silence'' the press.

The National Union of Press Workers [SNTP] said 46 radio stations, three television channels and around 20 newspapers had been shuttered in the past year.

The union also recorded 498 attacks on journalists as well as 66 arrests. It ascribed this to efforts by the government of President Nicolas Maduro to ''silence at whatever price, the discontent about the  ever-worsening economic and social situation'', which includes-

Hyperinflation and scarcities of basic goods such as food and medicine.

The number of attacks on members of the press was up by 26.5 percent compared with last year, when 360 acts of aggression against media workers were recorded, the union said.

Most took place during anti-government protests between April and June, which left 125 dead, according to the union, which said around 70 percent of those were deaths were at the hands of police or armed forces.

The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights issued an ''urgent call'' this year for the resumption of broadcasts by radio and TV stations that had been taken off the air.


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