1. Recently, a number of well-known journalists and anchor
men and women have been ordered to appear before the Public
Prosecutor and the Courts of the Republic to testify regarding
that affects the government's image. Patricia Poleo, Ibeyise
Pacheco, Napoleon Bravo, Leopoldo Castillo and Marta Colomina
are among the journalists who have been summoned.
2. Some of these journalists have been accused by public officials. They are:
Patricia Poleo, Director of the newspaper El Nuevo País;
Ibéyise Pacheco, columnist for the newspaper El Nacional,
Director of Así es la Noticia and radio anchor woman;
Salazar, columnist for El Nacional and radio anchor woman.
3. Patricia Poleo, director of the newspaper El Nuevo País, and Tamoa
Calzadilla reporter for the newspaper Ultimas Noticias,
were summoned to reveal their sources in the investigation carried
out by the Public Prosecutor regarding the leaking of documents
related to the case of the death of prosecutor Danilo Anderson.
4. In the
case of Patricia Poleo pressure tactics became even more
evident when her house was raided by the police in search of
documents that might reveal her sources. The journalist was
further notified that charges will be brought against her for
her allegedly illegal use of information and classified documents
related to the Danilo Anderson case.
5. When the newspaper El Nuevo País published a photo of a person identified as the Minster of the Interior and of Justice, Jesse Chacon, bent over a dead body at the headquarters of the TV station Venezolana de Television, the Minister filed a suit for libel against Patricia Poleo, arguing that he was not the person in the photograph. Following a brief trial Patricia Poleo was sentenced to six months in jail. As it was a first offence the sentence was later suspended, however Ms Poleo was forced to pay the total costs of the trial and to publish the sentence twice, with an interval of seven days, in the newspapers El Nuevo Pais and El Nacional.
Pacheco, a reporter for the newspaper El Nacional and anchor
woman for a radio opinion program, was sentenced to nine months
in jail following a suit for libel brought against her by Colonel
was also charged by Office 56 of the Public Prosecutor for
information she published on May 2003, in her column "In Private"
in the newspaper El Nacional, based on a recording of a meeting
at the Presidential Palace (Palacio de Miraflores) between the
Vice-President José Vicente Rangel and the Ministers
Aristóbulo Istúriz and Maria Cristina Iglesias.
8. The journalist Napoleón
Bravo was charged by the Office of the Public Prosecutor for
the alleged crime of incitation to hate for having mentioned
the grandchild of the Vice-President of the Republic.
Salazar, a columnist for the newspaper El Nacional and anchor
woman of a radio program, was charged for libel when she denounced
alleged irregularities committed by the Vice-President José
Vicente Rangel and the Governor of the State of Miranda, Diosdado
Inter-American Human Rights Commission has been expressing its
concern with the situation of journalists in Venezuela, ever
since the year 2002. Some journalists have filed suits for physical
aggression by government officials or sympathizers. Some of
these journalists have been granted precautionary
protection measures, however these have not been very effective
and, in the opinion of the journalists concerned, the government
has not made an effort to insure their enforcement.
11. In view of the Government's failure to enforce the precautionary measures
approved by the Inter American Commission on Human Rights, this
body urged the Inter American Human Rights Court to order the
Venezuelan State to adopt the Provisional Measures for the protection
of journalists' right to life, personal integrity and freedom
of expression ( http://www.corteidh.or.cr/seriee/index.html#luisiana
) and to insure the
protection of some print and audiovisual media's equipment and
headquarters. During the last two years, the Inter American
Court has issued several resolutions ordering such provisional
protection. ( http://www.corteidh.or.cr/paises/venezuela.html
12. During the years 2002, 2003 and 2004 several television and radio stations
and newspaper headquarters were attacked by government sympathizers.
Hundreds of street reporters were also subject to attacks, so
much so that they were forced to wear bullet proof vests, helmets
and gas masks to protect themselves from attacks by the National
Guard and violent pro-government groups. All episodes of aggression
to media headquarters and reporters by pro-government sympathizers
followed some speech or declaration by the President or high
level government officials against private media. Congressman
Alberto Jordán Hernandez bore witness to some of these