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Radio station attacked in Aragua; journalist harassed by political candidate's security personnel in Zulia

(IPYS/IFEX) - In the early morning of 30 July 2008, Color 99.5 FM station was targeted by unidentified individuals who threw rocks and metal objects at the broadcasting booth. The radio station is based in Maracay, Aragua state, in central Venezuela.

The station's news chief, Angelina Rodríguez, told IPYS that one of the launched objects was covered in leaflets with threatening messages. There was no one at the station at the time of the incident, aside from one security guard who was unharmed.

The broadcasting booth has a large window overlooking the street and passers-by can see the news team and other staff who work at the station during broadcasts.

Rodríguez believes the station was attacked because on 27 July it reported on a meeting between several opposition political parties, held to choose the candidate that would represent them in the upcoming local elections of 23 November.

Rodríguez added that Alejandro Ramírez, president of the Color Communications Group (Grupo Comunicacional Color), that the radio station belongs to, has received telephone threats that are linked to his media work in Aragua.

IPYS condemned the incident.

In a separate incident, on 17 July, Venevisión correspondent Angélica Villegas was harassed by private security guards while she covered a political rally for the Proyecto Venezuela party. The party supports the candidacy of Saadi Bijami as governor of Zulia state, in northern Venezuela.

Bijani's security guards lowered Venevisión's camera and covered the lens. When the journalist protested, the guards pushed her and threatened to cut the video recorder's wires if she did not leave.

Zulia journalists told IPYS that, even though all media outlets were invited to the event, the candidate's security personnel prevented the press from entering the hall.

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