06 March 2014

IAPA: Work of the press continues to be at risk in Venezuela

Aa
Miami (March 6, 2014)—The Inter American Press Association (IAPA) today expressed repudiation of various acts of violation against the work of journalists in Venezuela in a context of general governmental repression of press freedom and people’s protests, also considered freedom of speech.
$.-

Attacks on Mexico’s Noroeste newspaper, Argentine’s Infobae condemned

Miami (March 6, 2014)—The Inter American Press Association (IAPA) today expressed repudiation of various acts of violation against the work of journalists in Venezuela in a context of general governmental repression of press freedom and people’s protests, also considered freedom of speech.

The National Press Workers Union (SNTP) reported that from February 12 to March 3 there had been 78 attacks of journalists during the covering of protest demonstrations. It said that among these, 19 Venezuelan and foreign reporters were stripped of their equipment by agents of the Bolivarian National Guard, the Scientific and Criminal Investigations Corps (Cicpc) and armed civilians.

The Barquisimeto newspaper El Impulso said that on March 5 a team of reporters was attacked as it was covering an event commemorating the first anniversary of the death of late Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez. Reporter Aura Marina Rodríguez and news photographer Juan Brito were in Barquisimeto’s Bolívar Square when they were attacked.

Also attacked that day were reporters from the Lara newspapers El Informador and            Prensa, who, as in the El Impulso case, were stripped of their equipment.

Claudio Paolillo, chairman of the IAPA’s Committee on Freedom of the Press and Information, declared, “We are concerned with the situation occurring in Venezuela, where compliance with the news media duty, to keep the people informed, has become  according to the government, an act of opposition.” The Venezuela case will be one of the most important issues up for discussion during IAPA’s Midyear Meeting to be held in Barbados April 4-7.

Paolillo, editor of the Montevideo, Uruguay, weekly Búsqueda, noted that the IAPA has been protesting news censorship applied by the government, harassment of and physical attacks on members of the press, blockage of the signal of the television news channel NTN24, suspension of and refusal to grant work permits to journalists with the American TV channel CNN, and limitation of access to foreign currency for newspapers to be able to import newsprint and other supplies so they can publish without restrictions.

Mexico

Paolillo also expressed concern at attacks suffered by the Mexican newspaper Noroeste (http://www.noroeste.com.mx) and its journalists.

The paper, which circulates in several cities in Sinaloa state, reported that its journalists had received threats and attacks, committed or presumably directed by state, municipal and federal police, attributed to their news coverage and independent editorial stance.

Noroeste said that on February 23 telephone threats to its staff in Mazatlán began – one day after the arrest of drug trafficker Joaquín Guzmán, known as “El Chapo.” The authorities were consulted by the newspaper about indications of alleged acts of corruption and links of municipal police with him.

On that day harassments began through phone calls warning not to publish any information about this matter, threats and accusations on the Web site of alleged links of the newspaper with organized crime. In addition, the newspaper filed formal complaints to the federal and state public prosecutor’s offices of four cases of physical attacks and seizure of equipment.

Argentina

Paolillo repudiated action by Argentine pro-government union leader Luis D’Eliá, who on March 4 posted on his Twitter account a fictitious message that the police anti-drug division was conducting an “impressive operation” at the offices of the online newspaper Infobae, where “100 kilos of cocaine were found.” The fraudulent information also said that businessman Daniel Hadad, Infobae’s owner, was “a fugitive.”

In another message D’Eliá, a known activist of the government party, wrote that “I invented a lie about them so that for a while they would know how it feels.”

Paolillo repudiated what he called an “attack with the clear objective of discrediting Infobae by posting lies on social networks.”

The IAPA is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to the defense and promotion of freedom of the press and of expression in the Americas. It is made up of more than 1,300 print publications from throughout the Western Hemisphere and is based in Miami, Florida. For more information please go to http://www.sipiapa.org.

   

Share

0