IFJ Condemns Venezuela over Unprecedented Media Clampdown

The International

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."

According to

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withdrawn licences of at least 13 radio stations in a bid to close up to 240 of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.

President Chavez

has often criticised media which opposed his policies, blaming them for waging

a "media war" orchestrated by "imperialist" United States of America against

his regime. 

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