President Chavez criticizes attacks on official media in Venezuela

As presidential elections in Venezuela approach, President Hugo Chavez on Saturday, March 24, criticized the alleged assaults on journalists of the state-run National System of Public Media committed by supporters of the opposition, according to the website for the Venezuelan National Assembly.

Among the alleged targets is Venezolana de Televisión host Pedro Carvajalino, who was assaulted by a member of the Coalition for Democratic Unity, an opposition party, while covering an event in Caracas, according to the government website World Radio. The episode was caught on camera (see below).

Journalists Carolina Zapata, correspondent of the same channel in the state of Tachira, and Llafrancis Colina, information director for the Ávila TV channel, also were targeted by supporters of presidential candidate Henrique Capriles Radonski while covering campaign events in favor of the opposition, according to Espacio Publico and the website Ciudad CCS.

International organizations expressed concern at the level of hostility toward the press, promoted by both government supporters and opponents, and by the silencing of media via the censorship of coverage of an alleged contamination of drinking water, all this on the eve of presidential elections in the country.