Venezuela calls for investigation into U.S. funding of two press organizations

By Ingrid Bachmann

The pro-Chavez Necessary Journalism Movement asked the Venezuelan government to investigate the Institute of Press and Society (IPYS) and Public Space, which according to declassified documents receive millions of dollars in funding from the U.S. government, reported El Universal and El Nacional.

According to the Venezuelan News Agency, both non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have received $4 million “to promote spaces of attack against President Hugo Chavez,” including political activism through the use of new technologies. The money is channeled through the State Department, "avoiding any kind of control" as it moves through the black market, the article said.

The organizations in question say they promote freedom of expression and press freedom, often working with journalists and the media. In a statement (PDF file), IPYS said it is not a crime to receive international support.

The director of Public Space told Tal Cual that the organization receives funding from various sources, including the Organization of American States. “We don't have anything to do with any partisan political project," he said.

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.