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Government supporters vandalise newspaper headquarters; students harass reporters in Barinas

(IPYS/IFEX) - On 16 April 2009, a dozen students of the University of Carabobo, identified as militants of Venezuela's United Socialist Party (PSUV), the government's party, arrived at the headquarters of the newspaper "El Carabobeño", painted messages on its facade that said "pitiyanquis", "tell the truth" and "how much are you getting paid?", and insulted the employees. The incident took place in the city of Valencia, in central Venezuela.

The mayor, Edgardo Parra, who is also a member of the PSUV, accused the newspaper of charging money for publishing certain information and manipulating public opinion by criticising the government.

The incident took place three days after President Hugo Chávez described several media outlets as "subversive".

In a separate incident on 28 April, a team of journalists working for Barinas TV, made up of reporter Víctor Virigay and camera operator Arturo Rubio, was harassed by students from the Experimental University Los Llanos Ezequiel Zamora (UNELLEZ), who were protesting the quality of service in the cafeteria and the lack of money to be invested in the university. The incident took place in the city of Barinas in southern Venezuela.

Virigay told IPYS that the students pushed them, hit the vehicle they were riding in and kicked them. The journalists decided to hand over the tape with their recording of the protest to prevent more violence.

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