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Venezuelan parliamentary journalist reports being followed

Richard Sayago, a parliamentary journalist and assistant, reported that from April 17, 2013 onwards, he has been followed and has received threats by unidentified persons. He presumes these incidents are linked to complaints and irregularities he presented at the national assembly after the presidential elections. The threats took place in Caracas.

Sayago told IPYS-Venezuela that on April 22 he was walking in downtown Caracas in the vicinity of the federal legislative palace and was approached by a person who got off a motorcycle. Intending to intimidate the journalist, the person showed him a gun. According to Sayago, the man told him to watch out and be careful because they knew all his moves, the work he does, and they knew who he worked for because he was the press attaché and parliamentary assistant to congressman Miguel Ángel Rodríguez, a member of the opposition party.

The journalist stated that, prior to this incident, on April 17, when he was driving his personal car, he was also pursued and stopped by people on motorbikes. He said he stopped at the curb of one of the avenues in Caracas, when a person got off their motorbike and walked towards Sayago's car. The journalist immediately got back into his car and drove off.

Sayago said that he could be being followed, which places him in a vulnerable position due to the job he has in the national parliament. He mentioned that he filed a complaint about these incidents on April 26 at the public prosecutor's office.

Along the same lines, on May 7 he received intimidating messages through his Twitter account @sayagorichard. The user who sent the messages, @CamaradaRadical, wrote: “I am going to give you a gift, sapo, so that you start being more serious”. In Venezuela, the connotation of sapo (liteally "frog") is used to denote a traitor or person who cannot keep in a secret.

@CamaradaRadical also wrote: “Afterwards do not complain; we fish out all frogs in this government”. In another message he wrote: “we already know you are passing information to the congressmen, you are a frog”.

These actions reported by Sayago jeopardize his work as a journalist and his physical safety. This situation also violates the principles of freedom of expression and information.

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