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Venezuelan media outlets charged for republishing information from a Spanish paper

This statement was originally published on sipiapa.org on 23 April 2015.

The Inter American Press Association (IAPA) today condemned civil and criminal charges filed by the speaker of Venezuela's National Assembly, Diosdado Cabello, against several Venezuelan media for reproducing information published by a Spanish media outlet.

The National Assembly on Tuesday (April 21) approved a report by the People's Power and New Media Permanent Committee that criticized what it said was a campaign by Venezuelan and international media against Cabello. The case refers to statements by Cabello's former Security Chief, Leamsy Salazar, who was said to be collaborating with United States authorities investigating Cabello's alleged involvement with the Soles drug cartel. This information was published on January 27 by the newspaper ABC in Spain and reproduced by several Venezuelan media.

IAPA President Gustavo Mohme declared, “We condemn the fact that in Venezuela the government always describes as media campaigns and conspiracies any information that can be critical or that points out wrongdoing.” Mohme, editor of the Lima, Peru, newspaper La República, added, “In these cases the government should investigate and clarify the alleged denunciations, instead of berating the media and suing them for what they reproduce.” Cabello filed civil and criminal charges against “shareholders, editors, editorial boards and owners” of the newspaper El Nacional and digital platforms La Platilla and Tal Cual, as well as against Spain's ABC.

The chairman of the IAPA's Committee on Freedom of the Press and Information, Claudio Paolillo, editor of the Montevideo, Uruguay, weekly Búsqueda, said, “This action is one more demonstration of the ease that the regime has to use an acquiescent judicial body with the intent of accusing the media and journalists and violating press freedom and the people's right to know the facts.”

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