Regulatory authorities

A distinction between official or government institutions and private and professional organisations should be made. Among the first ones we find the aforementioned Conatel, the National Telecommunications Commission, dependent on the Ministry for Communication and Information. Founded by the government in 1991, in 2000 it was appointed by the Ley Orgánica de Telecomunicaciones (Organic Law on Telecommunications) as the organism that controls the application of the laws that apply to communications (mentioned in Media Legislation). It regulates the concession of broadcasting permissions too, and also produces its own norms, such as the Norma técnica sobre los servicios de producción nacional audiovisual y otros servicios de producción audiovisual (Technical norm about national audiovisual production services and other audiovisual production services), with a more technical and specific goal than government regulations. One of the main objectives of Conatel is the development of telecommunications services, with a particular interest in new technologies. This has been the institution responsible for the closing of media and the sanctions against journalists that have violated the norms of the Ley Orgánica de Telecomunicaciones or the other laws.

Outside of the state-controlled institutions, the CNP is the responsible of the Código de Ética del Periodista Venezolano (Code of Ethics of Venezuelan Journalist), first published in 1973, but modified in 1988, 1997 and 2013. They also ensure the compliance with the rules of the Ley de Ejercicio del Periodismo (Law of Journalism Praxis), the oldest law of the profession in Venezuela and that was also promoted by this institution. One of the organisations under the umbrella of the CNP is the Instituto de Previsión Social del Periodista (Journalist’s Social Prevision Institute - IPSP), supporting journalists in fields such as healthcare or retirement pensions.

Another code of ethics with the same title as the previously mentioned was approved in 2006 by the Ministry of Communication and Information. Both codes have a similar content, not very different from the one of international codes of ethics in the field. These two texts, together with the Ley de Ejercicio del Periodismo, although relevant for journalists, have lost strength as the telecommunications laws of the government were being approved. The two norms supported by the CNP are used by professionals as an argument against the arbitrary and authoritarian decisions of the government, based on its appliance of telecommunications laws.