Ultima Hora — Aug. 30, 2017

ACARIGUA The political crisis in Venezuela is threatening freedom of the press in a new way. The daily newspaper Ultima Hora ("The Last Hour") has printed its final edition — at least for now — after it ran out of newsprint stock. “ ¡Pausa Obligada!” (“Forced Break”) was the front-page headline Wednesday, announcing the editor's decision to halt the publication of the paper edition for the first time since its founding in 1974.

Nestor Ramirez, editor-in-chief of the daily, based in the western state of Portuguesa, wrote that the country’s sole newsprint supplier, which is controlled by the state, had cut off paper supplies because of Ultima Hora's critical coverage of President Nicolas Maduro. The French Press Agency AFP reports tens of newspapers in Venezuela, including El Nacional, had to turn into online news website or reduce their page number following the paper shortage.

Amid an ongoing political and economic crisis in Venezuela, limiting newsprint supplies is hardly the only way the government has clamped down on unfriendly media. According to Venezuelan's Union of Press Worker, 49 media outlets have been shut down by Maduro's administration since the start of 2017, French newspaper La Croix reports. Also, two popular radio stations in Caracas were taken off the air on Aug. 26 after broadcasting for more than 30 years.


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