Journalists who publish "false news" could face jail in Venezuela

It's important as American bloggers and journalists we stand up for press freedom around the world. This is why the other day I wrote a blog post about a Sudanese female journalist who faces 40 lashes for wearing pants.

Now the latest attack on journalists comes from Venezuela. The leftist government of Hugo Chavez recently shut down 34 private radio stations and has proposed a law that would put journalists behind bars for a broad range of "media crimes."

The National Association of Hispanic Journalists, (NAHJ), a national U.S. journalism association, has denounced the actions of the Venezuelan government. For the record, I'm an NAHJ member and former board member.

The proposed media law would put journalists in jail for publishing "false news" or who "manipulate or distort the news" resulting in "generating a false perception of the facts or creating a mindset among society, so long as such action has damaged the social peace, domestic security, public order, and public health or public morality," according to NAHJ.

There also was an incident this week where a group of armed pro-government militants stormed the Globovisión television station and threw tear gas injuring two people, according to press reports from Dow Jones.
"NAHJ calls on authorities to investigate the incident at Globovisión
and arrange effective protection for the station's journalists and
employees...NAHJ also urges the government to reconsider its attempt to
pass the Special Law Against Media Crimes, which we consider a true and
far-reaching attack on freedom of expression and a free press," NAHJ
said in a statement.

The attack on on the news network also was condemned by many other groups, including Amnesty International and the International Association of Broadcasters.

We shouldn't take for granted our freedom to write and publish news and our opinions in this country. In many parts of the world journalists and
bloggers go to jail for what we do every day.


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  • This is good news. There's a difference between "freedom of speech" and "wilful lying."

    I look forward to the day when Karl Rove is tried for lying to the American People about trying to kill another man's wife, Valerie Plame Wilson.

    I look forward to the day when Dick Cheney is tried for lying to the CIA about Weapons of Mass Destruction. Mister Cheney's lies mislead the nation, and the world, into war.

    Mostly, I look forward to the day when Jerome Corsi is tried, and hung. I don't usually believe in capitol punishment, but for this guy, I'm perfectly willing to be a hypocrite.

    Jerome Corsi lied when he created "The Swift Boat Veterans for Truth." Jerome Corsi lied when he created "The Birther Movement." When Jerome Corsi masturbates, he fantasizes about turning America into Rwanda. Genocide is his viagra. Hate is his lube.

    The 1st Amendment does not protect you from wilful lying, and knowingly stirring up hatred. Ultimately, words are more dangerous than guns. Please, respect them. Either that, or let's switch the order of the 1st and 2nd Amendment to better reflect our true priorities.

  • I think this is good news for venezuela people ,we are so tired to hear and read so much lying from the media. this is a good news and bad who practise liar , journalist not have right to comfuse people and manipulate the country just for them benefict,like this guy when start war in iraq all the media lying to people , them no hav erespecty people have to have like good citizen , this good but bad who usually lying is good. i sorry teresa puente ,lying is something be profesional is another thing ,alot journalist not have ethic but is journalist say the true them call muslin or comunist but today not body believed journalist....

  • I think most of the news coming from Venezuela is taken out of context, it is lost in translation. the mainstream media, controlled by a few, supported and promoted the 2002 coup against Hugo Ch

  • Thanks for your comments on my blog. But the government shut down radio stations and the pro-government supporters went in a threw tear gas and terrorized a TV station. Of course we have to hold the media and our politicians responsible for telling the truth. But who defines what is true and not? With government making those decisions we are sure to see more censorship in Venezuela. Come on people, Amnesty International complained about what is happening there too.

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