MIAMI, Florida — The Inter American Press Association (IAPA) has expressed regret that the old year ended with the toughest censorship and restriction of the Venezuelan press following the announcement by the South American country’s oldest newspaper, El Impulso, that in 2017 it will no longer circulate in its print edition.
The paper, founded in January 1904, announced in an editorial on its website that it would be circulating only until December 31 due to the lack of newsprint. It blamed the state-owned Alfredo Maneiro Editorial Corporation, which has a monopoly in the distribution of newsprint.
The chairman of the IAPA’s Committee on Freedom of the Press and Information, Roberto Rock, condemned “the insolence with which the Venezuelan government is applying censorship in a manner that is as subtle as it is gross.”
Rock, of La Silla Rota, Mexico City, Mexico, lamented “this new blow against the public’s right to know” and announced that this situation of restrictions, and the imprisonment of journalist Braulio Jatar, will be issues that the IAPA will be taking up in January with officials of the Organization of American States and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.
This year also, for the same reason as that of El Impulso, other newspapers ceased publishing, among them El Carabobeño, La Mañana de Falcón, Diario Los Andes, Qué Pasa, La Verdad and El Regional del Zulia.
The IAPA expressed its hope that the news industry and professional guild, both of Venezuela and of the rest of the Western Hemisphere, will come up with the best mechanisms of solidarity with their harmed colleagues, given the certainty that the freedom of all will always be at risk if the freedom of just one is trampled upon.