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Journalist's camera briefly seized by police in Mérida; reporters harassed in San Cristóbal during constitutional referendum

(IPYS/IFEX) - On 29 November 2007, several policemen insulted journalist Leonardo León and seized his camera in order to prevent him from covering the arrest of a citizen in the town of Mérida, northwestern Venezuela. León is a correspondent for "El Nacional" newspaper, and the host of ULA FM 107.7 radio station's programme "la Ciudad en la Radio".

After filing a complaint with Mérida's director of police Daniel Quintero, León's camera was returned and he received an apology.

In a separate incident, on 2 December journalists Eleonora Delgado, of "El Nacional" newspaper, and Freddy Machado, a correspondent for Globovisión television station, were harassed in the town of San Cristóbal, State of Táchira, in northwestern Venezuela, when they were covering the voting of representative to the National Assembly Julio García Jarpa, during the referendum on the constitutional reform.

According to the reporters, several hooded individuals on motorcycles who were proselytising in favour of the reform, hit Delgado when she was taking pictures of the voting and attempted to seize her camera. Machado was insulted when he tried to defend his colleague.

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