Reporters Without Borders has expressed concern over attacks on several journalists
during recent pro- and anti-government demonstrations. In a letter addressed
to Minister of the Interior and Justice Diosdado Cabello, the organisation
has asked that investigations be undertaken to shed light on these attacks.
"It is worrying for press freedom in Venezuela that more and more
journalists are becoming the victims of intolerance," stated Reporters Without Borders Secretary
General Robert Ménard. "It is imperative that those responsible are
identified and brought to justice," he added.
On 9 September 2002, Carlos Eduardo Delgado, a camera operator for local
television station CMT, was struck while covering a demonstration by
supporters of President Hugo Chávez in Caracas. The demonstrators harassed
members of the press, yelling "get out media sell-outs," and calling Channel
CMT "imperialist and coup supporters."
Three days before, Aymara Lorenzo, of Globovisión TV, and Luisana Ríos, of
RCTV, were attacked while covering a clash between supporters and opponents
of President Chávez in front of the Fort Tiuna military base in Caracas.
Various journalists were insulted by government supporters, who accused the
TV stations of frequently criticising the government’s administration.
Chávez supporters also criticised the TV station’s coverage of attempted
coup against the president in April 2002. The TV stations did not show any
images of the demonstrations supporting President Chávez after he was
removed from power for 48 hours.
On 5 September, journalist Vanessa Camargo of the public TV station
Venezolana de Televisión was threatened while covering a demonstration
against the government in La Guaira (in the state of Vargas, north of
Caracas). The demonstrators asked her to leave the area. They assaulted the
reporter and the TV station’s camera operator, accusing them of favouring
President Chávez, and damaged the news crew’s vehicle (see IFEX alert of 12