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Reporters detained, photos deleted

(IPYS/IFEX) - On 13 May 2010, journalist Mawampy Bonillo, of the newspaper "Panorama", and photojournalist Enrique Rivera, of the newspaper "El Vigía", were detained at a local police station in Mérida state, western Venezuela.

The journalists were accused of "violating the confidentiality of the investigation" in the case of the disinterment of boxer Edwin Valero's body.

Bonillo told IPYS that she was outside the cemetery with other journalists covering the body's exhumation. Bonillo said that police officers demanded that she, photojournalist Rivera and a neighbor who was watching the proceedings, accompany them to the No. 12 police station.

The journalists were detained for four hours. They were also forced to delete the images taken during the afternoon.

IPYS condemns this detention, which affects the free circulation of information.

In a separate case, a new publication, "Notillanos Plus", appeared on 7 May. The paper was created in answer to the closure, for 180 days, of the newspaper "Notillanos". The new paper is published with the same regularity as "Notillanos" and is distributed in the states of Carabobo, Aragua, Guárico and Apure.

It belongs to a cooperative that operates in the city of Valencia, is edited by Marcelo Parada and employs the same staff.

José Alberto Morales, the lawyer of the municipality of San Fernando who ordered the newspaper's closure, has said that the media outlet is being investigated and that there will be "surprises".

"Notillanos"' owner, Vladimir Hidalgo, reported that the company has sued the mayor of San Fernando, Jhon Guerra, the municipality's lawyer, José Alberto Morales, the mayor's office tax superintendent, Jhon Nalí, and the director of public protection and safety, José Pinto Rosario. They have been accused of abuse of their duties and the illegal charging of taxes.

IPYS demands that the case be investigated and freedom of expression guaranteed, as well as the media outlets' security.

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