The final report of the Inter American Press Association
60th General Assembly states that an official policy aimed
at limiting the freedom of speech and the press freedom prevails
in Venezuela and urged Hugo Chávez' administration to
observe the international norms ruling the journalism practice,
news agency AP reported.
The IAPA concluded that the policy implemented by the Venezuelan
government is also aimed at punishing citizens and journalists
who express an opinion opposing the government.
The assembly added that the Radio and TV Social Responsibility
Law means a further step in that direction. "Under the pretext
of protecting childhood and youth from violent news and programs,
the bill imposes a control over the media contents and establishes
government's previous censorship against any program believed
to be an attack to national security."
The IAPA claims that the Venezuelan government keeps disregarding
the international treaties on human rights and the decisions
of human rights Inter-American organizations, particularly
those related to the freedom of speech and the press freedom
and the personal integrity of journalists.
The agency urged the press laws to be adjusted "to the principles
and rules on freedom of speech included in the American Human
Rights Convention and the Inter-American Democratic Charter,
in the jurisprudence of the Inter-American Commission on Human
Rights and the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, and widely
stated in the Chapultepec Declaration," and to the IAPA principles.
Likewise, it pointed out that "government officials still
promote civil and criminal judicial actions against newspapers
and journalists based on the so-called contempt laws."
Among the resolutions of the final report, there is an acknowledgement
of "the courage of the Venezuelan press and journalists for
their risky and disciplined fight to preserve the freedom
of speech and press freedom."