The German Junge Freiheit journalist Billy Six has been arrested and charged for espionage in Venezuela. Reporters Without Borders (RFS) said that Venezuelan authorities are accusing Six of spying, rebellion, and “violating security zones.” He faces up to 28 years in prison if found guilty.
Six, who is known for his center-right viewpoints, was investigating the consequences of socialism in the Latin-American failed nation. Gerardo Moron of Venezuelan NGO Espacio Publico explained that “Six was in Venezuela investigating drug trafficking activities, smuggling of fuel and strategic goods, human trafficking and even the exodus of Venezuelans — crimes and realities present in this part of Venezuela.”
Journalists are often like canaries in the coal mine.
According to Edward Six, father of the jailed journalist, the government is holding him on the grounds of a photo his son took of President Nicolás Maduro at a rally that allegedly proves that he was inside the security perimeter. Edward Six says his son denies this. “He just was on the street. He talked to all these normal people. He asked them questions and put that on the internet.”
This is not the first time the brave reporter has got in trouble with authoritarian regimes. In December 2012, the Syrian army arrested him for entering the country illegally and held him for three months.
Freedom of Speech
Journalists are often like canaries in the coal mine. They give an early warning about a society’s slide into totalitarianism. When freedom of speech disappears, it is a sign that someone is maintaining power not based on competence, but on oppression. Shining the light of truth on the worthy only strengthens their position, but the corrupt are only be weakened by it.
Venezuela was held up as a beacon of progress by progressive socialists all over the West until only a few years ago, when the Bolivarian revolution transmuted into a nightmare where starving people are forced to eat garbage or their own pets in order to survive.
The left was quick to go silent, and far-fetched explanations were conjured to explain away yet another miserable failure of socialism. It was the low oil price, the capitalists were conspiring to destroy Venezuela, and Chavez was good, but Maduro is bad.
Six versus Khashoggi
Consider the difference in Western press coverage of the killing of Islamic journalist Jamal Khashoggi and the imprisonment of Six. On the former there has been massive reactions, but the legacy media has been almost silent on the German journalist.
Why? Billy Six was trying to tell the truth about socialism, the “progressive” ideas that always fail. That’s a story that is a turn-off for most of mainstream media. Khashoggi, by contrast, was a leftist darling because he was critical of an ally of the United States and moderate reformer of political Islam, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia.
Never mind that Khashoggi was a radical Islamist, had connections to the Muslim Brotherhood, and was possibly a mouthpiece of Iran. He was against the liberal freedoms of the West, and that makes him an ally of the illiberal left.
The legacy media has called President Donald Trump an authoritarian and fascist for labeling them as “the enemy of the people,” painting him as someone who would oppose free speech and imprison journalists. However, when reporters are actually jailed for merely doing their jobs, the fake news media remain indifferent. Their silence on the matter speaks volumes.