Federation of Journalists (IFJ) today called on the international community to denounce
the action of Venezuela's
President Hugo Chavez who has cut deep into the fabric of press freedom in the
country with his government's announcement of a widespread attack on
independent media voices.
The IFJ says the Government's
decision to revoke licences of a dozen of private radio stations with up to 200
others facing the same fate is an unprecedented attack on independent
"Free media in Venezuela
are facing a complete wipe out," said Aidan White,
IFJ General Secretary. "If these actions stand, they spell the end of
alternative and dissident opinion. They will reinforce President Chavez's rule
and disenfranchise citizens in the name of his so-called socialist revolution."
reports, the authorities in Venezuela have
withdrawn licences of at least 13 radio stations in a bid to close up to 240 of
them in the country. The decision followed the introduction of a new media law
which punishes "media crimes" such as "harming the interest of the state,
causing panic and disturbing peace" with jail sentences.
has often criticised media which opposed his policies, blaming them for waging
a "media war" orchestrated by "imperialist" United States of America against
The IFJ itself
was among media critics after owners became engaged in an attempt to overthrow
Chavez some years ago, but the Federation now says this latest attack is a vindictive
sign of the Government's attempt to deny the opposition information space amid
signs of mounting public discontent over the country's economic woes.
"There can be no democracy in Venezuela
without the free flow of information and views about the governance of the
country," added White. "Media provides the forum for this and the unprecedented
attack we are seeing will set the country back on its road to representative
For more information
contact the IFJ at +32 2 235 2207
The IFJ represents over 600,000 journalists
in 123 countries worldwide