Venezuelan court prohibits publication of satire magazine; editors arrested

The Ninth Court of Caracas, under the leadership of Judge Denisse Bocanegra, issued a temporary injunction to prohibit the publication and circulation of the satirical magazine 6to Poder after it published a cover with six Venezuelan government officials portrayed as cabaret dancers on Aug. 21, according to the newspaper El Universal de Venezuela.

On the same day, the Bolivarian Intelligence Service arrested the editor of the publication, Dinorah Girón, and put out a warrant for the arrest of the president of the company, Leocenis García.

The National Syndicate of Press Workers (SNTP) demanded the immediate release of the magazine's editor and urged the police not to arrest more people over the publication's cover.

The SNTP cited the Organization of American States' 2000 Declaration on Principles of Freedom of Expression, saying, "Laws that penalize offensive expressions directed at public officials, generally known as 'desacato laws (insult laws),' restrict freedom of expression and the right to information." SNTP also asked that the case go through the civil courts and any punishments be proportionate to the act.

The officials that appeared on the cover said that the publication damaged their reputation. "They intended to show cabaret dancers and (present) the country as a brothel. Imagine the significance of this, the complete aggression, this is inexcusable anywhere in the world," said Blanca Eekhout, president of the Supreme Court of Justice, in an interview with the Venezuela state television network.

Furthermore, several dozen women marched through the streets of Caracas demanding the Attorney General and National Assembly investigate the "perpetrators" behind the publication, according to the news agency EFE.

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