OAS monitor concerned with gov’t attacks on press in Venezuela

The Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression at the Organization of American States (OAS), Catalina Botero, said she was concerned with critics of Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez in the press facing libel suits, license suspensions, and broad “stigmatization,” El Universal reports.

Speaking at the inaugural meeting of the Latin America division of the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers, Botero criticized the closure of 34 radio stations “for reasons that no one can understand” and the “barbarous” use of libel laws to silence independent media.

The Chávez administration continues to have a tense relationship with the press, which has included punishing critical media outlets with closure, license suspension, and the withdrawal of government ad spending.

Note from the editor: This story was originally published by the Knight Center’s blog Journalism in the Americas, the predecessor of LatAm Journalism Review.