World Association of News Publishers

WAN-IFRA Press Freedom Resolution - Venezuela, 2 September 2012

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WAN-IFRA Press Freedom Resolution - Venezuela, 2 September 2012

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The Board of the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA), meeting on 2 September 2012 in Kiev, Ukraine, during the 64th World Newspaper Congress and 19th World Editors Forum, calls on the Venezuelan authorities to guarantee all media in the country are allowed to work freely and without fear of reprisals ahead of upcoming presidential elections on 7 October.

The Board is deeply concerned by an intensifying pattern of attacks against both national and regional media. Judicial and administrative harassment, physical threats and public insults delivered by members of the government through the state-controlled media have become regular tactics aimed at stifling criticism.

The premises of daily Qué Pasa in the city of Maracaibo, Zulia state, were damaged in a grenade attack on 29 May. Hours later, 14 gunshots were fired at the Catatumbo TV building, while on 3 June several shots were fired at the headquarters of Versión Final daily newspaper. 

On 28 June, the Venezuelan Supreme Court of Justice upheld a US$2.162M fine against Globovisión and ordered the freezing of US$5.7 million dollars-worth of the station’s assets. The TV channel, known for its staunch criticism of President Hugo Chávez, must also cover legal costs of US$1.3M. In an effort to avoid closure, Globovisión paid the Court’s initial fine, which led to the un-freezing of its assets a week later.

The Board of WAN-IFRA reminds the Venezuelan authorities that the role of media (state, independent and opposition) during an election campaign is fundamental as it hugely contributes to forming public opinion on the candidates. The Board calls on the authorities to guarantee that the media can do its job without fear of violence or intimidation in the run-up to the Presidential election.


Andrew Heslop's picture

Andrew Heslop


2012-08-21 16:22

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