National Press Club

NPC Urges Venezuela to End Restrictions on Free Press

August 6, 2009

The National Press Club is distressed by the Venezuelan government's recent actions to intimidate and bully the country's media.

The government of Venezuela has taken a series of steps since July 31 that threaten to destroy press freedom. On July 31, the government revoked licenses for more than 30 private radio stations and a Venezuelan minister has said more than 200 other stations are under investigation. Venezuela's attorney general recently proposed a "Special Law Against Media Crimes" that would punish journalists who present a "false perception" or "cause a panic". Venezuela's journalist association says the law will "criminalize journalism."

"These actions are designed to sow fear among journalists whose reporting challenges or criticizes the government," National Press Club President Donna Leinwand said. "If the government persists, it will erode free expression. We call on the government of Venezuela to allow media organizations to operate unfettered."