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Distribution of weekly newspaper prohibited in municipality of San Fernando

(IPYS-Venezuela/IFEX) - The owner and editor of the weekly "Notillanos Plus", Vladimir Hidalgo, denounced that, since 14 March 2011, the distribution and sale of his newspaper has been prohibited within the municipality of San Fernando, in the southwestern Venezuelan state of Apure.

Hidalgo said he did not receive any official notification of the measure, but rather found out via a notice published on 14 March in the regional "Visión Apureña" newspaper. The notice stated that because of an investigation into tax evasion allegations against Inversiones Goga - the company in charge of publishing the weekly - the paper's distribution was prohibited until the facts of the case have been clarified.

According to Hidalgo, the decision was announced without giving the company sufficient time to defend itself. Hidalgo also said that the Municipal Council does not have the authority to make decisions of this type, both because it lacks evidence and also because the company is registered in a different municipality. As such, the editor believes the decision was made because his paper often publishes citizen complaints about the way in which the mayor of San Fernando, John Guerra, manages municipal affairs.

"Notillanos Plus" first appeared in May 2010 in response to the closure for 180 days of the weekly "Notillanos" and the seizure of four thousand copies of that newspaper on 23 April. A lawsuit regarding the actions against "Notillanos" was filed against the municipal authorities, but the case is still pending.

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