The President of the Global Editors Network, Ricardo Kirschbaum, has spoken out against the Venezuelan government for banning 22 media executives from leaving Venezuela.
Ricardo Kirschbaum, General Editor of Clarín newspaper in Argentina, said that the decision “deepens and aggravates a silence policy imposed by the regime of Nicolas Maduro”, the President of Venezuela.
“Journalism is dying in Venezuela due to the open persecution of the government,” said Mr Kirschbaum. “It is impossible to hide what is happening there with the press, even though those responsible for the newspapers cannot leave Venezuela to explain what is happening. The news is spreading because of the sheer gravity of the situation.”
Those affected by the travel ban, issued by Caracas Judge María Eugenia Nuñez, include three of the country’s most prominent editors: Miguel Henrique Otero, Editor of El Nacional; Teodoro Petkoff, Editor of Tal Cual and Alberto Ravell, owner of La Patilla online news site. They were accused of “continuous aggravated defamation” by Diosdado Cabello, President of the Venezuelan National Assembly and are required to appear every week in court in Caracas.
“It all persists in the logical basis against journalism,” said Mr Kirschbaum. “The government has fined some media, and purchased others. The organisations which insisted on staying independent had their bank accounts frozen.
“Everything is happening in a repressive environment where the main opposition leaders, such as Leopoldo Lopez or Antonio Ledezma, Mayor of Caracas, are imprisoned. Those who are not behind bars suffer permanent stigmatisation through the official propaganda apparatus.”
Mr Kirschbaum called on media organisations around the world to report on what is happening: “With independent media in Venezuela bound hand and foot, the regime is seeking to impose a curfew on information; organisations advocating freedom of the press cannot allow it.”
Further information about Ricardo Kirschbaum, President of the Global Editors Network, can be found here.