Renowned news show Empire Files goes off air due to crippling US sanctions

President Trump on Empire Files Intro
Mohamed Elmaazi

The Empire Files is a renowned documentary series hosted by independent journalist Abby Martin. And it has now officially announced that it has had to go off air due to the effects of US sanctions on Venezuela:

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The groundbreaking documentary series has been a breath of fresh air with its unflinching critique of capitalism, imperialism, and corporate state terror. Episodes include reporting from Palestinian refugee camps; discussing massacres with farmers in the US-Colombia ‘drug war’; and embedded reporting with right-wing protesters in Venezuela.

Unlike many shows, Empire Files keeps all its episodes freely available post-broadcast.

According to a 22 August statement:

The Empire Files, which airs on TeleSUR throughout Latin America and on Free Speech TV and The Real News Network in the United States, has been funded through a contract with the TeleSUR network.

The headquarters of left-leaning TeleSUR are in Venezuela, and it receives funding from several Latin American states.

Ongoing attacks

On 16 August, The Canary reported that Occupy London was the “latest Pro-Palestine page to disappear from Facebook” and that:

On 13 August, meanwhile, left-leaning Latin American news organisation teleSUR also had its Facebook page shut down. And Facebook temporarily “unpublished” the Venezuelanalysis.com page a few days previously.

Economic sanctions worsen under Trump

The Empire Files has held off from reporting on its funding problems until now:

For over a year, funding has been sporadic and often delayed. The Empire Files has been operating by alternating between waiting for late payments and funding production out-of-pocket.

But the economic assaults on Venezuela (and TeleSUR), which began under former US President Barack Obama, have reached “new heights” under Donald Trump.

In March 2018, economist Mark Weisbrot from the Center for Economic Policy and Research explained that:

These sanctions cut off Venezuela from billions of dollars of potential loans, as well as from revenue even from its own oil company in the US, Citgo. They have worsened shortages of medicine and food, in an economy that is already suffering from inflation of about 3,000 percent annually and a depression that has cost about 38 percent of GDP. These sanctions are illegal under the Organization of American States (OAS) charter and under international conventions to which the US is a signatory.

Censorship

Some people have immediately pointed out that the censoring of TeleSUR and The Empire Files is a result of these US sanctions on Venezuela:

The attacks on TeleSUR by the US government have apparently also affected wire transfers from other Latin American states.

The Empire Files had to shut down before completing its latest programme on Palestine.

The Empire Files is now seeking donations to help keep it going:

US sanctions on Venezuela are not only making the country’s economic difficulties much worse. They’re also helping to silence independent media.

We must resist this assault at all costs.

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