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RCTV journalists denied entry to government event; others expelled for recording minister's speech on kidnappings

(IPYS/IFEX) - On 3 May 2007, reporter Junior Acosta, camera operator Juan Rojas and his assistant, Michael Risquez, all of the television station Radio Caracas Televisión (RCTV), were denied entry to a ministry of defence function, where they intended to cover an event being held by the interior and justice ministry. They were denied entry by Fabiana Ochoa, the director of institutional relations of the interior and justice ministry, for wearing shirts referring to the conflict between the station and the government.

The shirts bore the statement "United for Freedom of Expression" on the front, and on the back they read "RCTV". In 2007, IPYS issued four alerts regarding actions against RCTV, following President Hugo Chávez's decision to not renew the station's license when it expires on 27 May (see IFEX alerts of 26, 25, 19, and 12 April, 12 and 2 January 2007, 29 and 21 December 2006).

Journalists from other media outlets, both private and state-owned, who were originally granted entry to the event, were later expelled by military police when they tried to record the presentation by the interior and justice minister, Pedro Carreño. They were told to stop recording because the meeting had turned to the discussion of "security" issues. In fact, the discussion focused on the increase in kidnappings in the country.

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