CARACAS, Wednesday July 19, 2006 | Update
IAPA sees public powers trying to undermine the role of the press
Wednesday July 19, 2006  12:42 PM

Diana Daniels, president of the Inter American Press Association (IAPA) Wednesday said "for years, the public powers (in Venezuela) have been implementing a strategy to weaken the role of independent press in democracy."

Daniels' comments came during a news conference to disclose a report IAPA prepared following a three-day visit to Venezuela to verify the situation of freedom of the press.

IAPA urged Venezuelan authorities to respect freedom of speech as set forth under the Constitution.

Daniels voiced concern about "increasing difficulties facing the reporters, the media and the public regarding freedom of the press and freedom of speech." The IAPA mission also regretted the fact that the principles of the Declaration of Chapultepec "are not fully observed in the country."

Daniels ensured that both the media and reporters have filed a significant number of claims on attacks, agressions and harassment they have verified during IAPA visits to Venezuela."

In Venezuela, IAPA verified "a permanent climate of hostility against the media and reporters, provisional suspension of newspapers, threats to revoke broadcasting licenses from radio and TV stations, administrative actions and enactment of laws interfering with the media contents and editorial stances, enactment of laws increasing prison terms for reporters in the event of contempt crimes, which runs counter the Inter American trend to eradicate such crimes," Daniels underscored.

She added they received claims on "a significant number of aggressions against media nationwide and in Caracas."

She regretted again the fact that President Hugo Chávez, Vice-President José Vicente Rangel and the Information and Communication minister William Lara refused to meet with the IAPA mission, even though they asked for a meeting since April.

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