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
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
represents over 600.000 journalists in 123 countries