IFJ Condemns Violence against Media in Venezuela after Murder of Journalist

The International Federation

of Journalists (IFJ) is deeply concerned about the spiraling violence against

media in Venezuela after a

second journalist is murdered since the beginning of the year.

"January has been a fatidic

month for freedom of expression in Venezuela,"

said Gregorio Salazar, Director of IFJ Latina America Office. " Two journalists have been murdered, another survived an assassination

attempt and a string of criminal attacks and serious violations of press

freedom have been perpetrated including the decision of the National Congress (

Asamblea Nacional) to deny TV crews access to the Parliament room as was the

practice."

Orel Sambrano, Director of

Radio America , the weekly ABC and a senior columnist of the daily Notitarde based in the city of Valencia

in Carabobo state was killed on 17 January by gunmen on a motorbike who  shot him several times. Sambrano had received

death threats for reporting on drug traffic cases. His death has shocked media

community and the general public in Venezuela.



Another young graphic

reporter, Jacinto López, was killed on January 1 and his partner and fellow graphic

journalist Ricardo Marapacuto injured in the city of Barquisimeto,

State of Lara,

in an attack that was blamed on the general criminality.

Rafael Finol, journalist with

the daily El Regional, was shot and

slightly injured on the head last week at the entrance of the said paper. Reasons

for these two incidents remain unclear.

The IFJ condemns the attitude

of law enforcement authorities for their failure to act against the behavior of

violent groups, allegedly identified with government sectors which publicly declare

journalists and communication professionals as military targets.

"If the behavior of these

violent groups is not investigated and the law enforced, tragedies like these

will continue to happen ," added Salazar.

The IFJ expresses its solidarity

with the journalistic community in Venezuela

and supports their demands for serious, firm and transparent investigations of all

of theses cases. It also calls on the government to guarantee the exercise of

journalism in conditions of security and for the respect freedom of expression

and right to be informed . 

For more information, please

contact the IFJ at + 58 212 7932883 7931996

The IFJ

represents over 600.000 journalists in 123 countries