CARACAS, Thursday July 30, 2009 | Update
Not only the owners of TV stations such as Guillermo Zuloaga (Globovisión), Alberto Federico Ravell (Globovisión) and Marcel Granier (RCTV Internacional) could go to prison; anyone disclosing information regarded as "false" or "misleading" and that "would harm the interests of the State" or "the public morals" could be four years behind bars.
Under Article 5 of the draft Special Law against Media Crimes, which will be submitted on Thursday by Attorney General Luisa Ortega Díaz for the consideration of the National Assembly, "Any person who discloses false news through a mass media outlet, causing serious disruption to public tranquility, panic or anxiety in the population, disruption of public order or a prejudice to the interests of the State, shall be punished with imprisonment from two to four years."
The same punishment will be inflicted to persons who "manipulate or misrepresent news," "affecting social peace, national security, public order, mental health or public morals." The law drafted by the Attorney General consists of 17 sections. All the "crimes" defined in the bill: manipulation of news; refusal to disclose information; media coercion; knowingly failure to provide information; abetment, and obstruction of media activities are punishable with prison. The minimum penalty is six months and the maximum is four years.
Translated by Gerardo Cárdenas
Pedro Pablo Peñaloza
02:57 PM. HEAVY RAINS. Venezuelan Executive Vice-President Elias Jaua reported that the government is designing plans to support farmers, cattlemen and peasants of the state of Mérida who have been hit by heavy rains that have caused crop losses.