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Court rules against regional newspaper

(IPYS-Venezuela/IFEX) - On 30 March 2012, the First Court for the Protection of Children and Adolescents of the Legal Jurisdiction of the State of Barinas admitted the lawsuit filed by the Ombudsperson's Office against Editorial Sabana and "Diario La Prensa" newspaper. The case is linked to the publishing of photographs deemed detrimental to the rights of children and adolescents. The case was heard in the state of Barinas, 600 km southwest of Caracas.

The ruling was issued by Judge Reina de Varela who ordered the media outlet to pay one per cent of its gross income corresponding to the fiscal year 2010. The funds will be provided to the State Council for Protection of the State of Barinas.

The attorney-at-law defending the "Diario La Prensa", Omar Arévalo, condemned the measure and said he plans to appeal it before the Superior Court, presided by Judge Rosa Quintero.

Arévalo noted that during the trial the plaintiff did not submit any evidence as its three witnesses were repealed.

Arévalo added that the ideal way to determine whether there had been any negative impact on the psyche of children and adolescents was by means of scientific tests, yet said tests were not carried out. The Court said that it was beyond its capacity to carry out these tests and properly assess the likely impact on an undetermined number of people.

The lawsuit was filed by 12 lawyers of the Ombudsman's Office against "Diario La Prensa" of Barinas on 5 December 2011.

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