CARACAS, Wednesday February 15, 2006 | Update
| The court claimed that ordinary steps were not made
Media ban around Anderson case ratified

The fourth court of appeals kept a prohibition on the media to disclose any details about of the judiciary investigation into the murder of public prosecutor Danilo Anderson and about key witness Giovanni Vásquez de Armas

Despite this setback,plaintiffs vowed to challenge the prohibition at the Supreme Tribunal of Justice (Photo: Jorge Santos / El Universal)
Wednesday February 15, 2006  10:25 AM


The fourth court of appeals Tuesday dismissed an action seeking annulment of a decision the sixth crime control court issued banning the media from disclosing any details about the judiciary investigation into the November 2004 murder of public prosecutor Danilo Anderson and about the prosecution's key witness Giovanni Vásquez de Armas.

Justices Jesús Orangel García and Belkis Cedeño argued that the plaintiffs -alleged perpetrator Otoniel Guevara, Teodoro Petkoff, editor of daily newspaper Tal Cual, and the directors of the Venezuelan Trade Union of Press Workers and the leaders of the group Expresión Libre- did not take the necessary legal steps before challenging the media ban imposed by the sixth crime control court judge Florencio Silano.

Following three hours of deliberations, justice Elsa Gómez announced that in the file kept at the sixth crime control court it is certified that a ruling on an appeal local news TV channel Globovisión filed against Silano's ruling is still pending, as well as similar actions filed by local TV channel RCTV.

Based on the jurisprudence of the Constitutional Court, Supreme Tribunal of Justice (TSJ,) the fourth court of appeals argued that plaintiffs did not take all legal necessary steps before seeking annulment of Silano's ruling. "You cannot invert due process. Petitions for the protection of constitutional rights do not have a surrogate character. In the event that the appeal or petition is dismissed, there are other actions available, such as requesting annulment of proceedings," Justice Gómez claimed.
Consequently, a prohibition to disclose the judiciary investigation into Anderson's murder, and particularly any information on the private life of Vásquez de Armas is upheld.

Journalism and official truth
Petkoff asserted that reporters committed no crime. They have a duty to spread information -with no limitations- on events with a social significance. According to Petkoff, public prosecutors and court clerks did commit an offense when disclosing the case files, as they have an obligation to protect such data.
For example, he claimed, some reporters conducted investigations showing that extortion could be at the center of Anderson's murder, as previously suggested by Jesse Chacón, minister of the Interior and Justice.

Regarding disclosure of details about Vásquez de Armas' private life, Petkoff reminded that Attorney General Isaías Rodríguez himself introduced the prosecution key witness as a psychiatrist. Subsequently, not only did Vásquez de Armas deny Rodríguez' claims, but he also confessed to have committed crimes in Colombia and Venezuela.

Translated by Maryflor Suárez R.

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