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Director-General voices deep concern over press freedom in Venezuela

12-08-2009 (Paris)
Director-General voices deep concern over press freedom in Venezuela
The Director-General of UNESCO, Koïchiro Matsuura, today voiced deep concern over press freedom in Venezuela in view of the recent order to withdraw the licenses of 34 broadcasters.
“Plurality is an essential condition for journalists to exercise their profession freely,” said the Director-General. “I am deeply concerned over the reduction in the number of outlets through which citizens can exercise their right to receive information from diverse sources. The people of Venezuela have the right to benefit from a diversity of perspectives in reports and analyses of events that concern them. There can be no freedom of expression, or even democracy, in the absence of media pluralism. I therefore urge the authorities to reconsider their recent decision to take a great many broadcasters off air, and to protect media personnel from harassment,” concluded Mr Matsuura.

The Director-General made his statement in response to the decision by the Venezuelan authorities to withdraw the licenses of 32 radio broadcasters and two television channels, which allegedly violate the country’s Telecommunication Law. A total of 240 radio stations and 45 television stations may have their licenses taken away, according to an order issued early last month.

In his statement, the Director-General of UNESCO also referred to recent reports of an attack on the headquarters of Globovisión by 30 individuals led by Lina Ron, the leader of the Venezuelan Popular Unity party (UPV). The attackers forced their way into the premises of the television company and, once inside, threw teargas canisters, which are reported to have affected four people.

UNESCO is the only United Nations agency with a mandate to defend freedom of expression and press freedom. Article 1 of its Constitution requires the Organization to “further universal respect for justice, for the rule of law and for the human rights and fundamental freedoms which are affirmed for the peoples of the world, without distinction of race, sex, language or religion, by the Charter of the United Nations.” To realize this the Organization is requested to “collaborate in the work of advancing the mutual knowledge and understanding of peoples, through all means of mass communication and to that end recommend such international agreements as may be necessary to promote the free flow of ideas by word and image…”
Related themes/countries

      · Press Freedom
      · Venezuela
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    Source
  • UNESCO Press Release No.2009-92

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