IAPA condemns Venezuelan government's authoritarianism


MIAMI, Florida (September 1, 2016)—The Inter American Press Association (IAPA) today condemned the Venezuelan government for not providing the due guarantees for the practice of journalism and called it responsible for the reduction of freedom of the press and expression after learning that it had prevented the entry into the country of international journalists for coverage of the "Taking Back Caracas" march in support of the referendum for the recall of President Nicolás Maduro.

IAPA President Pierre Manigault declared, "This situation unmasks the authoritarian side of the government far from democratic standards."

Yesterday (Wednesday) immigration authorities denied the entry into the country of correspondents Jim Wyss of The Miami Herald and John Otis of National Public Radio (NPR) and of the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) of the United States; Marie-Eve Detoeuf of Le Monde of France; César Moreno of Caracol Radio, and Dora Glottman of Caracol TV of Colombia, reported the National Press Workers Syndicate (SNTP). Also not allowed to enter Venezuela was a news team of Al Jazeera from Argentina made up of reporter Teresa Bo, producer Lagmi Chávez and cameraman Mariano Rosendi. According to officials the team members did not have the permits required to carry out work as journalists.

All these members of the press had traveled to Caracas to cover the September 1 march.

Meanwhile the NTN24 television news channel complained that its news, technical and production team in Venezuela has received verbal threats from self-styled "pro-government collectives." Among the journalists of the international television channel threatened were Daniella Zambrano, Nicole Kolster and Óliver Fernández.

The IAPA yesterday also denounced an act of intimidation carried out against the offices of the newspaper El Nacional. Between January and August this year local organizations have reported 13 attacks on news media offices.

Manigault, president of the Charleston, South Carolina, newspaper The Post and Courier, said, "Maduro's government has never ceased its authoritarian attitudes. It opposes journalists' freedom to work, in the same way that it does not allow the entry of electoral supervisors and human rights activists."

In early August the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Right to Freedom of Opinion and of Expression, David Kaye, and the Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, Edison Lanza, alerted to a continual deterioration of press freedom in Venezuela.

The IAPA also noted the difficulties in obtaining newsprint and harassment faced by numerous Venezuelan newspapers, among them El Carabobeño, which five months ago suspended its print version and today celebrates its 83rd anniversary with a special issue devoted to reviewing the performance of freedom of expression in the country.

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.