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Journalist assaulted by angered mayor for reporting on alleged irregularities

(IPYS/IFEX) - On 6 July 2008, Mayor Orlando Gómez, of the city of Libertad in Barinas state, burst into the broadcasting booth of radio station Llanera 100.1 to insult and harass journalist Raúl Chirinos, host of the "Tertulia Vecinal" programme.

The incident occurred while the journalist was on the air, reporting live on alleged irregularities in a financial report submitted by the mayor regarding the repairs in a local music school.

According to the journalist, the mayor went to the station to demand his right to present his version of events which, according to Chirinos, he was granted immediately. However, apparently unsatisfied with this, the official struck the journalist and damaged the sound console and other equipment.

Chirinos said he was planning to file a complaint with the Barinas Prosecutor's Office.

On 7 July, Gómez went to the offices of the "Diario de los Llanos" newspaper and said that Chirinos's accusation is false. The mayor claimed that "there was only some pushing around and a few things fell", according to Víctor Faneite, a journalist for the newspaper who interviewed Gómez and later discussed the matter with IPYS.

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