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Authorities expropriate land belonging to newspaper for "public use"

(IPYS/IFEX) - On 29 July 2010, land that belongs to the newspaper "Las Noticias de Cojedes" was expropriated following orders issued by the governor of the State of Cojedes, Teodoro Bolívar, and the mayor of the Municipality of Falcón, Carlos Añez.

The officials' decision was supported by members of the National Guard and representatives of the Socialist Civil Housing Association of Maizanta. They all agreed to carry out the expropriation "because the land could be put to public use".

The property was going to be used to build a new headquarters for the newspaper. However, a symbolic land sale will be held and will favour the Maizanta association, which has promised to build a housing complex there.

In February 2010, Bolívar ordered the expropriation of land belonging to Peter Taffin, president of the "Las Noticias de Cojedes" editorial council and director of the radio network Rumbera. The reason given was that the land was going to be put to public use. However, the government has not used the land and the decree endorsing the expropriation has not yet been made public.

Eligio Elorga, editor of "Las Noticias de Cojedes", told IPYS that the newspaper is constantly threatened by the governor.

The newspaper issued a press release stating that the expropriation is a response to the newspaper's fearless reporting in defending communities and publishing information that politicians find inconvenient or embarrassing.

IPYS condemns all violations aimed at silencing the media and violating citizens' freedoms.

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