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Venezuela5 February 2002

Bomb explodes in front of daily’s offices

In a letter to Minister of Interior Relations and Justice Ramón Rodriguez Chacin, RSF condemned the 31 January 2002 bomb attack on the daily "Así es la noticia". "The president’s verbal threats against media outlets that criticise him have resulted in creating an auspicious climate for violence," noted RSF Secretary-General Robert Ménard. "We ask that you condemn this attack carried out by alleged government supporters," he added. RSF also asked the minister to ensure that those responsible be identified and brought to trial.

According to information collected by RSF, on 31 January, a bomb exploded in front of "Así es la noticia" daily’s offices, in Caracas, causing damage to the building’s facade. The bomb was thrown by two individuals who were riding a motorcycle. Prior to the attack, the daily’s management received an anonymous threatening telephone call, during which the newspaper was accused of having an editorial stance critical of the government. After the explosion, pamphlets accusing "Así es la noticia" journalists of carrying out an anti-governmental campaign and serving the "oligarchy" were found near the daily’s offices. The pamphlets bore the signature of the MRT, a previously unknown organisation.

"Así es la noticia" newspaper is headed by Ibeyise Pacheco, who is also lead-writer for "El Nacional" newspaper. On 7 January, "El Nacional" was threatened by some of President Chávez’s supporters. The two newspapers belong to the same media group. On 30 January, Pacheco pointed to the existence of a document outlining the alleged relations between Venezuelan government officials and members of the Colombian guerilla.

The government has taken measures to protect "Así es la noticia" and "El Nacional" newspapers and the Globovisión television station. Police forces have been assigned to patrol around the three media outlets’ offices.



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