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National Assembly president calls for investigation into conduct of journalist Beatriz Adrián; journalists prevented from covering arrival of kidnapped youth at medical centre

(IPYS/IFEX) - On 26 March 2009, National Assembly President Cilia Flores said that she has requested an investigation into the conduct of Globovisión television station journalist Beatriz Adrián. Flores alleged that Adrián had used illegal means to conduct an investigation into the salary paid to National Assembly Deputy Oscar Figueras, which the journalist broadcast on Globovisión.

In a National Assembly plenary meeting, Flores said, "I filed a complaint to ensure that an investigation is carried out into how Adrián obtained this information, since it is a crime to obtain somebody's password in order to have access to his files and obtain personal information." The journalist, however, told IPYS, "The information about the deputy's salary was given to me, with proof, by a person who is unhappy about the high salaries. I was only an intermediary."

Adrián told IPYS that Flores took half an hour in the National Assembly session to discredit her publicly via the state-owned Venezolana de Televisión (VTV) and National Assembly Television Foundation (Fundación Televisora de la Asamblea Nacional, ANTV) television stations. The journalist also pointed out that even though television stations are not supposed to be allowed into the National Assembly sessions, VTV had no problem getting in.

In a separate incident, on 21 March, Governor José Gregorio Briceño's security guard demanded that journalist Alcimar Ortega and photographer Dany Salazar, of the "El Sol de Monagas" newspaper, leave the Medical Specialties Centre where they were covering the arrival of a young man who had been kidnapped. Briceño belongs to the governing United Socialist Party (Partido Socialista Unidos de Venezuela, PSUV). The incident took place in the city of Maturín, in the state of Monagas, central Venezuela.

Irama Cabrera, the newspaper's editor-in-chief, told IPYS about the security guard's actions.

Access to the medical centre was also denied to journalists Lewis Barroso and Kenny Valero and photographer Jesús García, of the "El Periódico de Monagas" newspaper, as well as photographer Eduard Freites, of the "El Oriental" newspaper.

According to the journalists, the only media personnel allowed in were from the daily "Extra", which is supportive of the regional government.

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