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Journalist prevented from covering protest in support of RCTV; cameraman attacked, videotape stolen

(IPYS/IFEX) - On 27 May 2009, demonstrators who were demanding the restitution of RCTV station's open signal, prevented state-run station Venezolana de Televisión (VTV) journalist Siary Rodríguez, from covering the protest which took place in Plaza Brión de Chacaito, Caracas.

Rodríguez asked the demonstrators about the motives for their protest but they just insulted her. Two of them tried to damage the station's videocamera and attempted to take the journalist's microphone.

The demonstrators were demanding that the National Telecommunications Commission reinstate RCTV's license so that it can broadcast using an open signal.

In a separate incident on 13 May 2009, Telecaribe camera operator Jesús Reyes was surrounded by a group of hooded men who forced him to hand over the videotape on which he had recorded violent acts carried out during a demonstration by students at the Oriente University, in the State of Anzoátegui, northern Venezuela.

Reyes and reporter Silvana Requena were about to record statements by student leaders when the hooded men, who often infiltrate university demonstrations, threw stones at them.

The camera operator taped this attack but the men surrounded him and threatened to beat him if he did not hand over the videotape. Requena took refuge in a press car that was parked nearby, but Reyes was trapped by the assailants.

Reyes handed over the videotape after a struggle. He lost not only the images of the protest but those of another four projects which he had recorded previously.

The police, who were at the protest, were unable to recover the journalistic material.

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