The members of the International Press Institute, meeting at their 63rd Annual General Assembly during the IPI World Congress on April 14, 2014 in Cape Town, South Africa, adopted by majority vote a resolution calling on President Nicolas Maduro to ensure the safety of journalists and to halt government-led efforts to censor the media.
IPI members said the attacks against national and international journalists who have been covering recent public demonstrations undermine freedom of the press and access to information.
Taking into account complaints from journalists, IPI members said that the government must ensure a safe working environment for reporters and editors, who have faced arbitrary arrest and physical attacks by security forces following the outbreak of public demonstrations on Feb. 12, 2014. Additionally, a number of journalists have reported that their equipment was confiscated or that they were forced to delete footage of street unrest.
IPI members further expressed concern about policies that have led to tight supplies of newsprint purchased from foreign companies, forcing at least 10 newspapers to limit or suspend publication.
IPI members also called on the Venezuelan government to:
– Appoint an independent prosecutor to investigate reports of police attacks on journalists and allegations that equipment was illegally confiscated by the security forces.
– End the practice of censorship and/or restrictions on foreign and international media.
– Review policies that hamper the ability of newspapers to buy newsprint and other necessary supplies from foreign providers.