MIAMI, Florida (December 14, 2018)—The Inter American Press Association (IAPA) today declared that a cease to the print version of the Venezuelan newspaper El Nacional "is one more regression of press freedom in a regime that continues destroying the rights of its citizens, the country and democracy."
"It is time to make a pause in order to gather strength, but not renouncing to decide to shortly again print our newspaper which without a doubt no longer belongs to us because it has become the property of the entire Venezuela," explained El Nacional, launched 75 years ago, in an editorial directed at its readers concerning the suspension of the print format. The voice of El Nacional will continue to be heard through its web page where it will continue its struggle.
IAPA President María Elvira Domínguez in the name of the organization expressed solidarity "with El Nacional, its publisher and editor Miguel Henrque Otcero and with all the journalists and employees who are suffering this new and serious attack."
"This situation is one more regression of press freedom in a regime that continues destroying the rights of its citizens, the country and democracy," said Domínguez, editor of the Cali, Colombia, newspaper El País.
Roberto Rock, chairman of the IAPA's Committee on Freedom of the Press and Information, added, "This serious news for press freedom is nothing more than the evolution of the censorship that we have been highlighting for decades and in which the government uses all the mechanisms within its reach to stifle and attack independent expressions."
"We have the hope that these will be the last acts of censorship and anti-democracy in Venezuela," declared Rock, editor of the Mexico City, Mexico, news portal La Silla Rota.
In its recent report on Venezuela the IAPA declared that this year has been one of the hardest for independent news media and journalists.
In August El Nacional joined a long list of newspapers reducing their circulation to five days a week as a means to save newsprint, whose distribution is controlled by the government through the officially controlled Alfredo Maneiro Editorial Complex (Ceam). This year there have ceased to circulate 26 newspapers, 20 of them closed forever, and since 2013 a total of 55 newspapers have disappeared, according to Venezuela's Press and Society Institute (IPYS).
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 publications from throughout the Western Hemisphere and is based in Miami, Florida.