VENEZUELA Article 58 of the 1999 Constitution says, “every person has the right to timely, truthful and impartial information without censorship, according to the principles of this Constitution.” At this time it is not clear which government agency will enforce this series of adjectives which could either allow or restrict the flow of news and, when applicable, determine penalties for noncompliance. No eventual press law or legislation concerning the citizens’ right to news which might establish controls or penalties is on the horizon. There is no proposal on the subject in the special authority requested by President Hugo Chávez nor on the National Assembly’s agenda for the coming months. So far the language in Article 58 has not been used to censor or restrict the media. Nevertheless, constant insults and threats have been leveled against the media or publishers who do not support the government, and these are stubbornly repeated by high government officials and even the president. The following are examples of specific cases: • Harassment of the Venezuelan Press Bloc and of publishers concerning a statement by the bloc “expressing its concern about the situation of freedom of expression and information in Venezuela, as well as the violence unleashed by the highest levels of the government, threats to media outlets, publishers and journalists, unjustified and offensive slurs and personal attacks by President Chávez.” • President Chávez accused CNN of lying, saying it had distorted news about the OPEC summit that Venezuela hosted. • The daily La Razón reported about a complaint brought by Tobías Carrero Nácar and the Multinacional de Seguros insurance company alleging libel by publisher Pablo López Ulacio for publishing news related to the alleged advantages that Carrero Nácar is obtaining in contracts with the government because of his long friendship with the president of the former Constituent Assembly and President Chávez, as well as his position as an important contributor to the president’s campaign. La Razón reported clear violations in the defamation trial, the political character of the defamation complaint, the impossibility of the Venezuelan judicial system providing López Ulacio with an impartial judge and violations of due process. On September 12, Judge Miroslava Bonilla dismissed the case against Ben Ami Fihmann and Faitha Nahmes, publisher and reporter, respectively, of the magazine Exceso. But the accusers insisted that they had committed defamation and libel three years ago and appealed the decision, juggling the law and saying not enough time has passed for the case to be dismissed. Elías Santana filed a petition to the Supreme Court requesting that Radio Nacional grant him the right of reply, exercising his right to impartial news coverage. He alleged that he was directly harmed by inaccurate and damaging information in statements by President Chávez on the program “Hello, Mr. President.”