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TV programme cancelled; journalist robbed

(IPYS/IFEX) - On 6 August 2009, TV journalist Antonio Di Giampaolo was informed that his programme "En el aire" was cancelled. The programme was broadcast by the regional private TV station TVS in the state of Aragua, northern Venezuela.

Di Giampaolo explained to IPYS that the programme's editorial line was the reason presented by TVS directors for its cancelation. It was a news programme with interviews about political current affairs, the economy and regional issues. It also allowed the public to send their comments in and allowed representatives of different sectors of the political spectrum to express their views. According to the journalist, his programme was critical of all political groups.

"En el aire" had been broadcast for 24 years, first through Radio Aragua, and for the last 15 years, through TSV.

In a separate incident on 13 August, journalist Heidy Maldonado of the private radio station Radio Caracas Radio (RCR) was assaulted and robbed by a group of President Hugo Chávez's supporters.

Maldonado was near the National Assembly covering a demonstration against the new Education Law. About fifteen motorcycle riders wearing red T-shirts and carrying Venezuelan Popular Union (Unión Popular Venezolana, UPV) political party flags led by Lina Ron, currently under arrest for the attack against Globovisión TV station, approached her in an attempt to ambush and hit her.

The journalist ran from the scene and was chased by two motorcyclists who yelled "get her". Once they caught up with her, one of them got off his motorcycle, knocked her down to the ground, took her purse and stole her telephone.

IPYS condemns incidents such as this that endanger reporters' physical safety while they perform their duties.

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