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TV station correspondents detained

(IPYS/IFEX) - On 10 April 2010, members of the police and the National Guard detained reporter Daniel Garrido and camera operator Rafael García, members of Colombian TV station Caracol's press team, for three hours. They were both covering an incident at the La Ponderosa estate in the town of Cúpira, State of Miranda, northern Venezuela.

Garrido, who is Venezuelan, and García, who is Colombian, were gathering information about a group of 12 Colombians who have been detained there since 19 March and accused of being members of a paramilitary group. Members of the National Guard and local police officers from Pedro Gual, who were guarding the facilities, informed the journalists they could not film in the area. They then proceeded to detain the journalists and search both their equipment and their vehicle.

After their release one hour later, Garrido and García went to a nearby village in an attempt to gather information but were intercepted by armed policemen who climbed into the journalists' vehicle and forced them to drive to the police station in Pedro Gual, where they were forced to remain for another two hours.

The authorities looked through their papers and searched the vehicle again. They also attempted to seize the reporters' material.

The police justified their behavior by pointing out that foreign journalists cannot get permits to work in Venezuela. They stated that this is not in accordance with current legislation. Garrido is Venezuelan and both journalists' documents were in order.

They were finally released, Garrido believes, because the news of their detention was being broadcasted by the media.

Garrido also reported that six months earlier, he had been attacked by a member of the National Guard, who pointed a gun to his head when he was covering a prison uprising.

He was then working for Televen and although he reported the case to the authorities, he has received no response so far.

IPYS rejects these actions as intimidation of journalists by the authorities.

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