Venezuelan journalism unions criticize government for information restrictions and impunity

Venezuela’s National Journalism Guild (CNP) and the National Press Workers’ Syndicate (SNTP) denounced a series of threats to freedom of expression from President Hugo Chávez’s government, highlighting the increasing lack of access to public information and impunity for crimes against journalists, El Universal reports.

In a joint statement, the groups’ directors said many public agencies, including the presidency, the Supreme Court, the Ministry of Finance and Planning, and the state oil company have ended or restricted journalists' access, “limiting the citizenry’s right to be informed,” El Nacional explains. Beyond this, both groups said they were concerned by restrictions in place since February, which bar the press from congressional sessions.

The two groups also submitted an official report to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, complaining about impunity for those who commit violence against journalists, the Agencia Carabobeña de Noticias adds. "When the first perpetrator is indited and tried for assaulting a journalist, the attacks will cease," said CNP president Silvia Alegrett.

For more coverage of information access issues in Latin America, see this Knight Center map.

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.