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Cadena Capriles media building attacked in Caracas

(IAPA/IFEX) - Miami, June 9, 2010 - The Inter American Press Association (IAPA) today condemned an attack on the headquarters of the Cadena Capriles media chain in Venezuela and called for a prompt investigation to determine the motives and bring those responsible to justice.

According to "Ultimas Noticias", a Capriles group newspaper, on the night of 7 June, unidentified persons on motorcycles tossed several Molotov cocktails at the Torre de la Prensa (Press Tower), the Caracas offices of the news media conglomerate Cadena Capriles, which owns daily and weekly newspapers, magazines and news Web sites. Although the bombs failed to explode, they caused alarm among employees.

"We condemn the attack and hope that authorities will quickly perform their duty to investigate and identify the instigators and bring them to trial," declared IAPA President Alejandro Aguirre and Press Freedom Committee Chairman Robert Rivard.

"Ultimas Noticias" news editor Erys Alvarado requested more protection for his company and fellow staff members and recalled that just a few days earlier a company driver had been abducted and beaten up.

A report by the National Journalists Guild of Venezuela indicated that between January and November 2009 there were "245 cases of attacks and threats, among other violations against journalists, news media and their employees."

Orel Sambrano case

In another development, the IAPA welcomed an indication of progress in the struggle against impunity in Venezuela, following the conviction in May of one of the murderers of journalist Orel Sambrano, killed on January 16, 2009.

Sambrano was the editor of the weekly newspaper "ABC", vice president of the privately-owned radio station Radio América 890 AM and an editorial writer for the evening newspaper "Notitarde" in Valencia, Carabobo state. Rafael Segundo Pérez, a former police sergeant, was sentenced on May 18 to 25 years in prison after he was convicted of Sambrano's murder.
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