Venezuelan press groups criticize government "censorship" of reports on water contamination

Various Venezuelan press associations issued statements criticizing the court decision that ordered the media to publish a technical report supplying evidence for previous stories published about water contamination in the central region of the country.

"We reject the court requirement as it is nothing more and nothing less than a way to censor media," said Gustavo Mohme, president of the Commision on Freedom of the Press and Information from the Inter American Press Association, in reference to the court order issued Wednesday, March 21.

For Reporters Without Borders, the Caracas court decision is regrettable and is "politically-motivated censorship,” that will "help to worsen the pre-election political and media climate.”

The National Union of Journalists of Venezuela said that “the role of the state agencies is to address the complaints of the population and not to persecute those who make the complaints public,” according to the news site El Impulso.

In the middle of campaigns for presidential elections, the recent court decision adds to the intensified attacks against the Venezuelan press, and the growing debate about freedom of expression.