World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers


Protest Campaign - Venezuela, 10 March 2014

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Protest Campaign - Venezuela, 10 March 2014

Article ID:

17518

His Excellency Nicolás Maduro
President of Venezuela
Caracas, Venezuela
 
10 March 2014
 
 
Your Excellency,
 
We are writing on behalf of the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA) and the World Editors Forum, which represent 18,000 publications, 15,000 online sites and over 3,000 companies in more than 120 countries, to express our serious concern at the censorship and intimidation of media seeking to cover recent protests.
 
Since a wave of protests against the national government began on 12 February - which has left many dead, injured and arrested – your government has taken a number of steps to restrict the reporting of events by news media. Most recently, last week the government revoked the credentials of reporters from the U.S. network CNN in Spanish, after you vilified foreign media and accused the channel of "poisoning with their lies". This followed the banning of Colombian channel NTN24 for "reasons of state”.
 
We are particularly concerned at the dangerous conditions for journalists reporting on the protests. According to data published by the National Journalists Guild, the National Press Workers Union, the non-governmental organization Espacio Público and Instituto de Prensa y Sociedad (IPYS), there have been at least 65 cases of violations of freedom of expression since the disturbances began. Fifty-five of these were attacks on journalists and media outlets covering the protests, including the ransacking of the public TV channel VTV and the shooting of one of its reporters.
 
Problems of reporting are exacerbated by government restrictions on access to foreign exchange for the importation of newsprint, ink and other printing supplies. At a time when the public needs to be fully informed, most newspapers have reduced the number of pages and sections, while several have ceased publishing altogether, although they continue to publish online.
 
We are also concerned that the government is restricting access to the internet and has blocked images on Twitter.
 
We respectfully remind you that revoking journalists’ credentials, restricting access to printing supplies and limiting social media are acts of censorship that contravene international standards of freedom of expression, including Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. We also remind you that it is the duty of the government to ensure the safety of journalists carrying out their profession.
 
We respectfully call on you to immediately end the censorship and intimidation of the media so that they can freely report on the important events unfolding in your country. We urge you to take all necessary steps to ensure the safety of journalists carrying out their profession and to ensure that in future Venezuela fully respects its international obligations to freedom of expression.
 
We look forward to hearing from you at your earliest convenience.
 
Yours sincerely,

Tomas Brunegård
President
World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers

Marcelo Rech
President
Latin American Committee, World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers

Erik Bjerager
President
World Editors Forum

 

Author

Rodrigo Bonilla's picture

Rodrigo Bonilla

Date

2014-03-12 11:41

Author information

In countless countries, journalists, editors and publishers are physically attacked, imprisoned, censored, suspended or harassed for their work. WAN-IFRA is committed to defending freedom of expression by promoting a free and independent press around the world. Read more ...