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IAPA repeats its warning that the Venezuelan government intends to shut down independent media

Radio stations in Nicaragua discriminated against

(IAPA/IFEX) - Miami (September 9, 2009) - The Inter American Press Association (IAPA) issued again today its warning that the Venezuelan government intends to shut down independent news media including the television network Globovisión, which is already the subject of six administrative processes, and threatens to close 29 radio stations in addition to 34 others taken off the air last month.

On Saturday (September 5), Public Works and Housing Minister Diosdado Cabello announced a sixth administrative proceeding against Globovisión, this time for allegedly inciting assassination and a coup d'état through a text message shown during the broadcast of its variety program "Buenas Noches" (Goodnight). Administrative proceedings against an independent company that produces the program were also initiated.

The minister announced that he will soon implement procedures to take 29 radio stations off the air for alleged administrative irregularities.

IAPA President Enrique Santos Calderón said, "The Venezuelan government officials' open confrontation and their adverse decisions against the independent news media is troubling, particularly since they are made before the relevant agencies can act. This marks the proceedings with a lack of transparency."

Globovisión faces six administrative warnings which could result in the definitive shutdown of its operations. The network reported on its Web site that the other proceedings resulted from statements by news executive Rafael Poleo, remarks made by the opposition Carabobo state governor in the November 2008 regional elections, coverage of the earthquake on May 11 this year, and failure to pay taxes for institutional announcements broadcast between December 2002 and January 2003.

Nicaragua

In Nicaragua the IAPA repeated its concern at accusations published by local newspapers of "centralization of official advertising" through the President's Communication and Citizenry Council, headed by Rosario Murillo, the country's first lady.

The criticism published in the Nuevo Diario and La Prensa newspapers coincides with complaints registered by an IAPA international delegation sent to Nicaragua in January to assess the shutdown of radio stations as well as news and opinion programs.

Robert Rivard, chairman of the IAPA's Committee on Freedom of the Press and Information, and editor of the San Antonio Express-News, expressed disappointment that "the government's intolerance continues, as demonstrated by its policy of rewarding or punishing journalists and news media outlets."

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