World Association of News Publishers

Press Freedom Resolution: Calling on Venezuela and Ecuador to Respect the Independent Press

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Press Freedom Resolution: Calling on Venezuela and Ecuador to Respect the Independent Press

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The Board of the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA), meeting on 31 May in Washington D.C. during the 67th World News Media Congress, 22nd World Editors Forum and 25th World Advertising Forum, calls on the presidents of Venezuela and Ecuador to put an immediate end to all forms of intimidation against the independent press in their respective countries.

Earlier in May of this year, a Venezuelan court barred 22 news media executives from leaving the country. The executives were named in a defamation lawsuit filed on 23 April by Diosdado Cabello, president of Venezuela’s National Assembly, in response to the republishing by three media outlets (Caracas daily El Nacional, weekly Tal Cual, and online news site La Patilla) of a story from Spanish daily ABC about Cabello’s alleged ties to a drug-trafficking cartel.

Diosdado Cabello himself said on his TV programme that he had specifically asked the judiciary to impose the ban on the media professionals. The Board of WAN-IFRA is concerned that such a measure appears disproportionate and highly irregular, as none of the affected media executives had yet been summoned by the court.

In Ecuador, the government is systematically imposing fines on media outlets that do not publish rectifications or news of “public interest”. On 13 May, ‘Supercom’, the regulatory body created by the Communication Law, imposed a fine of US $3,540 on daily La Hora for failing to publish the public accounts of a local mayor, considered to be a matter of “public interest”. Having received more than ten similar denunciations in the past years, the newspaper has refused to pay, declaring itself “in resistance”.

The Board of WAN-IFRA expresses its deep concern for the systematic disrespect of critical opinion in Venezuela and Ecuador. Using judicial and regulatory tools to create an atmosphere of intimidation and fear reveals the authoritarian nature of these governments.

The Board of WAN-IFRA calls on President Nicolás Maduro and President Rafael Correa to put an immediate stop to all forms of harassment, violence and judicial pressure and to guarantee an atmosphere of free public debate, where critical and dissenting opinions can be expressed freely and without fear.


Andrew Heslop's picture

Andrew Heslop


2015-05-25 09:59

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WAN-IFRA's activities in Latin America focus in promoting innovation amongst the region's news media industry, in helping media companies lead a successful digital transition and in advocating for a free and independent press. Read more ...