VENEZUELA On March 14, the Venezuelan Press Bloc asked the Supreme Court to declare the Press Law unconstitutional and overturn it. The law, which includes licensing of journalists, was published in the Official Gazette December 22, 1994. The court is expected to rule by early next year. The current law has resulted in the predictable discrimination. The newspaper EI Universal, through its Andres Mata Foundation, gave a seminar on contemporary journalism to 30 university students selected from a long list of candidates. While the foundation was in preliminary process of picking the course participants, members of the National Journalists Colegio insisted to the foundation that candidates eligible for the course must have a degree in mass communications and a Colegio credential. The Colegio told the foundation that if it did not comply, it would be in violation of the present Press Law. The management of El Nacional has complained to the chairman of the Committee on Freedom of the Press and Information that the newspaper had been the victim of discrimination in the placement of official advertising by government entities. For two months, the Treasury Ministry had not published any advertisements in El Nacional in retaliation for its revelations about a corruption case. In another incident, the National Council for Cultural Affairs withdrew its advertising because it did not agree with the cultural politics of El Nacional, the newspaper asserted. Newspapers are also suffering problems daily because of government delays in the authorization of shipments of newsprint. The authorities argue that the delays have been caused by a lack of hard currency. This had led to some newsprint suppliers suspending shipments, a situation that has put the very existence of newspapers at risk. Furthermore, there has been discrimination in the recognition of the foreign debt of certain media and authroization for foreign exchange to pay it. An article about remarks by Venezuelan journalist Carlos Ball appeared in the July 29 issue of the U.S. magazine Editor & Publisher. Ball faces accusations by government authorities and fears that if he returns to Venezuela from the U.S, where he now lives, he will be jailed as "a traitor to the country." Ball declared that the government was hostile to him because of columns he wrote about the Venezuelan crisis in The Wall Street Journal and other media. Asked to comment, Information Minister Fernando Egafia declared that "No provision exists or has ever existed that would affect the free exercise of the rights of the citizen in question."