CARACAS, Venezuela — A court ordered Venezuela's newspapers on Tuesday to stop publishing photographs depicting blood, guns and other violent images and warned an opposition-aligned daily that it could face a hefty fine for publishing a photo of bodies in a morgue.
Venezuelan officials say the ruling aims to protect children and adolescents from violent images, but opponents call the move censorship and say it is motivated by a desire to control popular perceptions of crime in Venezuela, which has one of Latin America's highest murder rates.
In its ruling, the court said it prohibited the publication of "images, information and publicity of any type that contains blood, guns, alarming messages or physical aggression images that incorporate warfare content and messages about killings and deaths that could alter the well being of children and adolescents."
The decision came after El Nacional daily — a newspaper that's fiercely critical of President Hugo Chavez — published a photograph on its front page depicting dead bodies in a Caracas morgue. The image accompanied a news story examining Venezuela's failure to stem widespread violent crime.