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Construction Workers' Union issues threats, encourages censorship in state of Barinas

(IPYS-Venezuela/IFEX) - On 28 November 2011, two cases of censorship and threats against journalists by members of the Construction Workers' Union occurred. The union's members are, for the most part, supporters of the ruling United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV). The incidents took place in the state of Barinas, in southwestern Venezuela.

In the first case, José Luis Machín Machín, the presenter of the Radio Sensacional 94.7 FM programme "Dialogando con los vecinos", received a call from leaders of the union who threatened him in an attempt to get him to stop interviewing people who oppose their members who have been accused of being responsible for several kidnappings, disappearances and murders.

Machín responded in a broadcast, saying: "Each and every one of the people interviewed came with evidence and they have all filed formal complaints with the Public Prosecutor's Office. This program is open to all. Even you (the union leaders) can come anytime you want."

The second case involved the "De Frente" newspaper, which is linked to the ruling party. Instructions were issued to the paper's managers and journalists telling them to refrain from publishing any news against the Construction Workers' Union. The sources for this information requested anonymity for fear of reprisals.

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