VENEZUELA Resolution of the Midyear Meeting Caracas, Venezuela March 28 - 30, 2008 WHEREAS the administration of President Chávez has stepped up its attacks on journalists and the media, in violation of the Venezuelan people’s right to freedom of speech and their right to be informed, rights where are established in Articles 57 and 58 of the Venezuelan Constitution WHEREAS these attacks clearly represent a permanent policy of the current Venezuelan government, whereby it seeks to muzzle independent media outlets in Venezuela and force them into self-censorship or extinction WHEREAS the administration of President Chávez is issuing laws by decree to implement measures that were defeated by the Venezuelan people when they voted down its proposed package of constitutional amendments WHEREAS the changes and laws that President Chávez seeks to impose against the will of the people as expressed on December 2, 2007, are clearly aimed at preventing the free expression of ideas and opinions, taking control of cultural organizations and forms of cultural expression, and subordinating the Venezuelan educational system to dogmatism and universally failed teaching methods clearly inspired in totalitarianism WHEREAS the closure of Radio Caracas Televisión and the illegal seizure of its broadcasting equipment have been widely and soundly rejected by the Venezuelan people WHEREAS on March 26, 2008, the government refused to issue an injunction that would have allowed Radio Caracas Televisión to resume its over-the-air broadcasts for all the Venezuelan people WHEREAS the Chávez administration has repeatedly refused to disclose public information to media outlets not under its control, and has prevented independent journalists from gaining access to sources and events controlled by government entities WHEREAS the Globovisión news channel continues to face court cases, new administrative penalty proceedings, and increased harassment from the government WHEREAS Venezuela’s currency exchange controls give the government a dangerous degree of discretion that represents a serious threat to newspapers’ operations and circulation and, therefore, an attack on freedom of speech WHEREAS the government continues to pressure and penalize the independent media through its discriminatory placement of government advertising WHEREAS as reported at the most recent IAPA General Assembly, the Chávez administration has been concentrating a large amount of radio, television and print media outlets under its control, outlets built with the money the Venezuelan people and supported by government advertising THE MIDYEAR MEETING OF THE IAPA RESOLVES to denounce before the international community President Chávez’s disregard for the will of the Venezuelan people, as expressed in the December 2, 2007, referendum, in which his proposed package of constitutional amendments was defeated, a package that included restrictions on people’s rights, on freedom of speech and on the right to inform and be informed, and he now intends to impose these changes by issuing laws by decree To condemn the Chávez administration’s violations of the human rights of journalists and media workers, and its constant threats, acts of intimidation, and abuses against the independent media to condemn the continuation of the closure of Radio Caracas Televisión, and the seizure of its broadcasting equipment, as well as the insults, threats, administrative sanction procedures, restrictions on coverage, and court rulings pursued by the head of state against Globovisión to denounce the Chávez administration’s use of the currency exchange control system imposed in Venezuela, to limit the timely approval and granting of foreign currency for the importation of newsprint and other supplies necessary for the media to function normally and exercise freedom of speech to denounce President Chávez’s concentration of media outlets, which are created and maintained with public moneys, for the purpose of indoctrination, social and political control, and thought control to condemn the government’s harassment of the independent media, its use of the judicial branch, and its discretionary practices in granting foreign currency, as ways of perpetrating acts of intimidation and aggression against journalists and media outlets, which exist to provide the people with multiple sources of information to note the Argentine Supreme Court ruling that “the government may not manipulate the placement of advertising by granting it and withdrawing it on the basis of discriminatory criteria,” nor may it “use advertising as an indirect means of compromising freedom of speech.”