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.