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Venezuelan turn to social media for protest news

Published on Feb 22, 2014 6:02 AM

CARACAS (AFP) - Venezuelans seeking news about the country's roiling protests are increasingly turning to social media, circumventing traditional news outlets that have been stymied by the government.

An avalanche of tweets, pictures and homemade video has been posted online since the eruption earlier this month of anti-government protests - but local networks have only offered limited coverage.

Social networking and video-sharing sites "have been playing a fundamental role, because television stations have been silenced" during the protests, sociologist Maryclen Stelling told AFP.

Near-daily rallies, some of them violent, have erupted in the capital Caracas and other cities, over what President Nicolas Maduro's critics say are deteriorating economic conditions, rampant street crime, corruption and bleak job prospects. So far, eight people have died and more than 130 have been injured, the government said on Friday.

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