Security agency accuses journalist in Venezuela of inciting crime through his reporting

Venezuelan security agency open an inquiry into a journalist with the purpose of pressing charges against him for "instigating crime" with his articles about the killing of a prison gang leader in the city of Maracaibo, according to the website El Oriente.

Journalist Juan José Farías, reporter for the newspaper La Verdad and correspondent for IPYS Venezuela, published several articles on the killing of a prison gang leader, Miguel Ángel Boscán Albda, who died in a confrontation with police after having completed a 14-year prison sentence. According to sources consulted by the reporter, the prisoners offered to take money to kill police linked to Boscán's death. Meanwhile, the chief of police for the state of Zuila, Luis Monroy, offered a reward to counter the gang's solicitation.

On Jan. 28, the reporter received a subpoena from the Scientific Penal and Criminal Investigative Organization where he was interrogated without legal representation after being held for four hours, according to the newspaper La Verdad. "They accused me of creating uneasiness among the security officers and provoking a massacre between criminals and the police," Farías said.

Officials also tried to obtain the journalist's sources and investigate their possible links to the other prisoners, according to the website Tal Cual Digital.

The secretary of the National Journalists' Union in Zulia, Leonardo Pérez, said that security agencies cannot blame reporters and the media for violent events in the country.

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.