(AFP) President Nicolas Maduro has announced a crackdown on violence in television dramas in Venezuela, the latest in a series of measures seeking to reduce the nation’s spiraling crime rate.
In a speech delivered from the presidential palace late Tuesday, Maduro said he would issue a decree imposing programming changes that will allow him to “create a new culture of television and cinema” in his South American nation.
It is impossible, Maduro said, “to deny the ability to influence and the weight of television in our society,” as he explained his rationale for the measures reducing the prevalence of crime and bloodshed on Venezuelans’ television and movie screens.
Already last week, Maduro called for the total overhaul of the country’s current television programming, saying it encourages crime.
The government said Communications Minister Delcy Rodriguez met earlier this week with officials from the audiovisual media industry to devise a television programming schedule that would offer less violent content.
The television reforms are being imposed with the nation still shaken over the shooting death earlier this month of a soap opera star and her husband.
The actress, former Miss Venezuela Monica Spear, 29, was fatally shot along with her husband, British-born Thomas Henry Berry, 39, in front of their five-year-old daughter, who was wounded.
The murder put a spotlight on Venezuela’s soaring crime, which has kept many Venezuelans from venturing out at night and prompted others to buy armored cars or boost security in their homes.
The couple apparently was killed during an attempted robbery.
Venezuela has one of the world’s highest murder rates, with 79 homicides per 100,000 inhabitants in 2013, according to the non-profit Venezuelan Observatory of Violence.
The interior ministry, however, has a lower murder rate of 39 homicides per 100,000.
In another anti-crime measure, Venezuela has launched a plan to take special measures in some 79 cities which account for about 80 percent of the nation’s crimes.
A massive anticrime protest is planned Sunday in the Venezuelan capital.