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Global Coordinating Committee of Press Freedom Organizations repudiates order for arrest of journalist Guillermo Zuloaga

(IAPA/IFEX) - Paris, France, June 15, 2010 - The Global Coordinating Committee of Press Freedom Organizations at its meeting here yesterday (June 14) unanimously agreed to condemn the order for the arrest of journalist Guillermo Zuloaga, president of the Venezuelan television network Globovisión, and his son, Guillermo Zuloaga Siso.

The representatives of the International Association of Broadcasting, World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA), Committee to Protect Journalists, World Press Freedom Committee, International Press Institute and Inter American Press Association, taking part in the Coordinating Committee's half-yearly meeting sent a letter to the Venezuelan president, Hugo Chávez. The full text is as follows:

"Mr. President,

We view with extreme concern that coincidentally the arrest warrant issued on Friday last week was drawn up shortly after you publicly criticized the privately-owned company and in particular described Zuloaga as "bourgeois," attributing to him the ability to "rob or kill."

This new action, while put to Globovisión by a different process, without doubt amounts to limiting and intimidating its editorial policies and news coverage, just as has happened in another 40 legal and administrative proceedings against the television channel, among them Zuloaga being charged in April this year with disseminating false information and offending and vilifying the president following the remarks he made during the Midyear Meeting of the Inter American Press Association in Aruba.

The Coordinating Committee also wishes to express to you its strong condemnation of the actions of your government against freedom of expression and the right to information enshrined in Articles 57 and 58 of the National Constitution and in international treaties on human rights and press freedom.

At the same time we herewith inform you that this Coordinating Committee will continue denouncing the outrages committed by your government against freedom of the press and free speech, as it has in the past expressed its condemnation of the closure of RCTV in May 2007 and subsequently the forced shutdown of 34 radio stations and five television channels.

For these reasons, and in accordance with the public's right to information, we request that you leave without effect all kinds of administrative actions against Globovisión and those that could cause the courts to act against journalist Guillermo Zuloaga, which, in light of the circumstances described here, seek only to curtail freedom of the press and freedom of expression."

Inter American Press Association
Committee to Protect Journalists
International Press Institute
World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers

Non-IFEX signatories

International Association of Broadcasting

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