Freedom of expression is exposed to a series of risks that are not limited to simple threats or to abuses that compromise its existence, but include serious measures and revenge for exercising that freedom. The current administration says the press, radio and television lie when they speak of restrictions on this freedom because they can publish news and opinion without censorship. But it never refers to how they do it and what they are exposed to. The rule of law is seriously challenged. It is necessary to gather up all one’s courage to work as a journalist or editor, since the use of a flak jacket, gas mask and protection against theft or destruction of work tools, including vehicles, is essential. President Hugo Chávez does not stop hurling insults of all types and instigations against the media and journalists, calling them “garbage,” in his constant lectures broadcast on radio and television networks. A joint mission of the IAPA and the IPI in September determined that there is no press freedom and emphasized the impunity that protects attacks against journalists and the media. Given this situation, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights has had to ratify and extend the protective measures for journalists and the media issued at the beginning of the year. The government did not respect these decisions in violation of constitutional provisions, laws and international accords signed by Venezuela. It is worth making special mention of official decrees indiscriminately establishing security zones in areas near what are considered military installations or facilities, whether they are in cities or not. This measure, in addition to restricting the right to private property and submitting it to the whims of the administration or the will of the military, also limits traffic, the right to demonstrate and to inform, in violation of the constitution. A notable and very serious aspect of the situation is a bill called the Citizen Participation Act, now circulating among legislators to be debated in the National Assembly. It includes, in a surreptitious way articles designed to constrain, diminish and liquidate press freedom through a National Council to Oversee the Media under the Communications Ministry. The council, made up of neighborhood organizations, would permanently oversee the media and apply sanctions recommended by a committee of citizens, with a clear Marxist-Communist slant. It would be empowered to impose large fines or decree the closing of a media outlet that, in the judgment of these “people’s courts” has infringed its alleged directives. Other serious incidents include: On April 11, Jorge Tortoza, a photographer for the newspaper 2001, was killed during political demonstrations that triggered the temporary ouster of President Chávez. The crime is still unsolved. Journalists work under continuous physical and emotional threats. To date, 51 media workers have been attacked: 12 were injured, 22 threatened, six stoned, five assaulted and four shot at. One car was burned, grenades and firebombs were thrown and two sets of equipment were lost during the coverage of events. Media buildings have also been damaged. On October 16, government-sponsored groups attacked and destroyed a courthouse in the state of Lara shortly after the court had agreed to hear an appeal in favor of journalist José Angel Ocanto, who had been sued for libel and defamation by the state government’s chief of security. On October 19, an explosive device was thrown at the office of Unión Radio in Caracas.