CNN staff have work permits revoked

Friday, February 21, 2014

Two CNN staff have had their Venezuela work permits revoked following President Maduro`s threat to expel the news agency from the country.

Two CNN staff have had their Venezuela work permits revoked following President Maduro`s threat to expel the news agency from the country.

CNN staff have work permits revoked

By Ben Tavener

CARACAS, Venezuela - Venezuela`s authorities revoked Friday work permits of two CNN staff in the country after President Nicolas Maduro threatened to expel the U.S. news network, and block access to the channel over its coverage of violent protests.

CNN presenter Patricia Janiot, her producer and CNN correspondent Rafael Romo have had their Venezuela work permits revoked, according to the SNTP - the Press Workers` Union.

"@PatriciaJaniot`s untimely departure from Venezuela confirmed, after pressure and threats from [President] Maduro against CNN," the SNTP said in a post on Twitter.

According to the BBC`s Mundo, CNN said in a statement that it would `carry on reporting both side of the tense situation in Venezuela.`

Speaking on Thursday night, Maduro said he would block the channel if it continued broadcasting "war propaganda."

"I have asked the [Communications] Minister Delcy Rodríguez to notify CNN that an administrative process has been initiated to remove them from Venezuela if they do not change this," the president said in a televised national address.

"They are airing war programs 24 hours a day. They want to show the world that there is civil war in Venezuela. I won`t accept war propaganda against Venezuela. If they don`t rectify themselves, out of Venezuela, CNN, out," he said.

Maduro ordered Colombian news channel NTN24 to be taken off the air last week, accusing it of trying to create conflict among Venezuelans.

Local media in Venezuela is largely under government control; the only independent TV channel was bought by a businessman close to President Maduro last year.

At least five people have died in the unrest, which began on 12 February. The government blames the country`s opposition for inciting violence, while opponents say police have opened fire on protesters.

The demonstrations have been called to protest against the country`s soaring levels of crime, scant access to some basic products and limits to freedom of speech.

President Maduro has repeatedly rounded on the U.S., accusing it of inciting violence and the CIA of financing Lopez and orchestrating a coup from abroad.

U.S. President Barack Obama has denied the allegations, saying it was a ploy to draw attention away from Venezuelans` "legitimate grievances."

Last week the Venezuelan president ordered the expulsion of three U.S. diplomats.

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