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Students vandalise newspaper office, threaten its workers

IAPA protests action against Venezuelan newspaper

(IAPA/IFEX) - Miami, April 20, 2009 - The Inter American Press Association (IAPA) today condemned the hostile acts by a group of university students against the Venezuelan newspaper El Carobobeño meant to intimidate workers by threatening them and painting insulting slogans on the building's walls.

IAPA President Enrique Santos Calderón, of the Bogotá, Colombia, newspaper El Tiempo, declared, "We have been warning that a climate of intolerance and hostility towards Venezuelan news media is being encouraged by the country's most senior officials in speeches that continually threaten to shut down the media or warn that they will pay a price for their criticism. This attitude can only lead to disturbing actions, such as the ones El Carobobeño employees had to suffer."

Around noon on Thursday, April 16, approximately 15 students from the University of Carabobo, to the south of the Venezuelan capital, Caracas, arrived at El Carobobeño's building to protest that the print edition of the newspaper did not report on the trial of persons allegedly implicated in last month's murder of a fellow university student in Carabobo State.

Although the report was carried prominently on the newspaper's online edition, students stormed the paper's building, threatened employees and painted slogans against the newspaper on windows, walls and two items of historical importance there.

Santos Calderón added, "We protest the hostile attitude of the students, who while they may have the right to express themselves publicly should do so within the framework of respect and alternative views that a democratic society enjoys."

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