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WPFC files friend of court brief in support of RCTV journalists' case

(WPFC/IFEX) - The following is a 3 September 2008 WPFC press release:

Embattled Venezuelan TV Journalists Get Help From WPFC

Reston, VA, Sept. 3, 2008 - Acting to support a group of Caracas TV journalists targeted for violence by President Hugo Chavez, the World Press Freedom Committee (WPFC) filed a 29-page friend of the court brief with the Inter-American Court of Human Rights.

The WPFC brief asks the Court to find that President Chavez and his state security forces violated the journalists' freedom of expression. If the Inter-American Court agrees, it may impose sanctions on Venezuela.

In their landmark case now before the Inter-American Court in Costa Rica, a group of journalists employed by the embattled Radio Caracas Television (RCTV) lodged a remarkable claim: the Chavez government, led by the President himself, conducted a vitriolic public campaign to demonize and threaten the journalists. The verbal assaults encouraged and legitimized state security personnel to conduct a wave of violence, assaults, and intimidation against the journalists. Not only did the President's campaign violate the journalists' right to freedom of expression, but it resulted in no formal investigations and no prosecutions of the perpetrators who inflicted the violence. The journalists petitioned the Court to find that in fact Venezuela did violate their rights, and to impose sanctions on the Chavez government.

A few months ago, RCTV requested that WPFC file a friend of the court brief supporting RCTV's journalists in this major press freedom case. WPFC readily agreed, and in August 2008, filed its 29-page brief to support RCTV's journalists.

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