In Venezuela, 28 violations of freedom of expression were recorded during February
In Venezuela, 28 violations of freedom of expression were recorded during February, 6 less than in January, according to the record of cases released this Tuesday by the NGO Espacio Público.
“During the second month of the year, we documented 16 cases that resulted in 28 violations of freedom of expression,” said the organization’s bulletin, which denounced the prevalence of “threats, censorship, verbal harassment, and intimidation.” .
“The pattern of harassment and intimidation of the critical discourse of journalists, the media, leaders, workers and citizens in general continued, mainly perpetrated by State officials or those affiliated with the Government,” the letter stated.
Likewise, Espacio Público explained that 56% of the abuses occurred on the Internet, “one of the few spaces that the population still has to express themselves and give their opinion freely.”
In addition, 14 journalists and 2 media outlets “were victims of violations of their right to inform,” while the general public was directly affected in 5 other cases.
The State, adds the NGO, was the perpetrator in 19 of the 28 registered violations.
Espacio Público explained that 56% of the abuses occurred on the internet
Among the cases included in the bulletin is one from February 28, when a mayoress from the Amazonian state of Bolívar “threatened” six journalists “for covering and disseminating complaints from relatives of patients who died” in a public hospital and who “demand that open an investigation.”
In another order, this week the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) asked the Venezuelan regime not to ratify a law that will regulate the operation of non-governmental organizations and, on the contrary, adopt measures to “rebuild democracy.”
“In Venezuela there is a hostile environment against organizations that defend human rights, in which smear campaigns, stigmatization, and acts of harassment as a consequence of their defense activities predominate,” say the IACHR and the Office of the Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression (RELAY).
For this reason “they urge Venezuela to refrain from approving any type of legislation or regulation that arbitrarily limits the right of association, freedom of expression and participation in matters of public interest” and they ask it to take “measures aimed at rebuilding democracy and the rule of law”.
On January 24, the Chavismo-dominated Venezuelan Parliament approved, in its first debate, a law that will regulate the operation of NGOs. The second ballot is pending and undated.
(With information from EFE)
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