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Venezuela to Newspapers: No 'Bloody' Stories

By August 17, 2010

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The government of Hugo Chavez isn't exactly known for being friendly to free media. Now, after going after media outlets that don't bend to the whim of the Bolivarian revolution, Venezuela has announced its latest, most bizarre ding at the freedom of the press: a decree against news with blood, guts, gore.

From El Universal:

"Venezuelan newspapers were banned from publishing information, images and ads showing bloody situations, weapons and physical attacks or conveying warlike messages and encouraging crime that may hit the psychological wellbeing of children and adolescents.

The decision was made by the Twelfth Trial Court on Children and Adolescents Protection, following the publication of pictures of the Caracas morgue by daily newspapers El Nacional and Tal Cual in recent days.

...The court banned the remaining Venezuelan newspapers from publishing images that may be deemed harmful for children and teenagers."

Now, most editors agree that an image should pass the "Wheaties test" -- will readers keep their breakfast down when they view the image? -- when deciding upon photos to accompany a story. However, sometimes you have to get a bit graphic to convey the gravity of the story at hand. No doubt pictures of the Caracas morgue carry an important message of the out-of-control crime in Latin America's most violent major city, and even a teachable moment for youths who may decide to pick up the paper. Coverage of rampant crime, however, doesn't look good for the Chavez government, which is more interested in nationalization of industry and picking global fights than addressing the wrecked economy, out-of-control inflation and crime gripping the country.

(Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

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