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Call for Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro to end censorship

The Board of the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA), meeting on 8th June 2014 in Turin, Italy, during the 66th World Newspaper Congress, 21st World Editors Forum and 24th World Advertising Forum, calls on the President of Venezuela, Nicolás Maduro, to put an end to censorship and halt the violence against the press in his country.

Security forces and pro-government militias have attacked media professionals who are covering social protests against the government that erupted in February. The National Journalists Union has registered 195 attacks against media professionals, from 12 February to 15 May. Journalists have had materials confiscated and been the victims of threats, abductions, arbitrary detentions, physical assaults and censorship.

Government censorship has also increased. On 7 May, Venezuela's telecommunications regulator ordered the suspension of “Plomo Parejo”, a radio programme critical of Mr. Maduro's government. In early March, the President ordered the suspension of international news channel NTN24, while the government revoked the credentials of a number of CNN reporters.

The government refuses or slows down the importation of newsprint by restricting cash transfers from Venezuelan news companies to newsprint suppliers. As a result, the lack of newsprint in the country has led at least twenty newspapers, amongst them El Nacional (nationwide), El Impulso (Lara), El Caribazo (Nueva Esparta), Los Llanos (Anzoátegui), and La Prensa (Anzoátegui), to drastically cut back on editions or discontinue some of their daily print runs to survive.

The Board of WAN-IFRA is deeply alarmed by what is considered a historically dire situation for the press in Venezuela. The Board condemns the strategy of Nicolás Maduro's government to intimidate and ultimately asphyxiate the independent media. The Board calls on President Maduro to guarantee the free flow of information in his country by putting an immediate end to all means of intimidation, violence and censorship against the media.

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